Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has defended rival Jose Mourinho over his decision to loan Mohamed Salah to AS Roma from Stamford Bridge in 2016.
After a disappointing first year in England throughout the 2013-14 season, Mourinho loaned Salah to Fiorentina and then Roma in respective seasons before he was allowed to move to the Italian capital permanently at the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
A lot has changed since then, with Salah scoring 43 goals – more than anyone else in world football – during his debut season at Liverpool and is now being touted to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
Because of his upturn from a Chelsea flop to being considered as one of the world’s best in the space of three years, Mourinho has been on the end of relentless stick, but current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has surprisingly supported the man who he hasn’t exactly seen eye to eye with over the past year.
Trying to speak sense into the doubters, Conte said: “It’s not so simple. We have to compare Salah of four, five years ago, and not with this Salah now. Salah in the present has improved a lot, he has developed his football a lot.”
Mourinho has gathered a bit of a reputation for selling players who have gone on to become big stars elsewhere – Kevin De Bruyne is another – so hopefully this will be in the back of his mind if highly-rated youngster Anthony Martial is thinking of leaving Manchester this summer.