Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has provided insights into why Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah faced difficulties adapting to life at Stamford Bridge.
Obi Mikel discussed at length the challenges that De Bruyne and Salah encountered during their respective tenures at the club. Salah played for Chelsea from 2015 to 2016, while De Bruyne made only three domestic appearances during his two-year stay from 2012 to 2014.
During an episode of the Obi One Podcast, the defensive midfielder disclosed that De Bruyne’s attitude was a hindrance to his integration into the team.
Mikel claims Mourinho left Salah in tears once
“I think De Bruyne wasn’t the best trainer back then. He was somebody that comes to training and probably because he wasn’t playing that much, always having his head down, always angry and sulking,” Obi Mikel said. “He was like a kid who came to the playground and nobody wanted to play with him.”
Obi Mikel also recounted a training ground spat between De Bruyne and Samuel Eto’o. “I remember when Samuel Eto’o had a go at him and they had a massive fight on the training ground just because he [De Bruyne] wasn’t putting in the effort that Eto’o wanted so they had a massive row on the pitch.”
The midfielder also claimed that then-manager Mourinho’s abrasive attitude impacted both players. “They [Salah and De Bruyne] were so unlucky that the boss, Mourinho, then didn’t take any prisoners. If you weren’t doing your job, it didn’t matter who you were, he would have a go at you.
“He had a go at Mohamed Salah at half-time once and he was in tears crying. We thought ‘OK, he’s going to let him back on the pitch’ But then he destroyed the kid and then pulled him off. But that was just his mentality back then. But would Mourinho do that now? I think no.”