Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has suggested his former player Kevin De Bruyne is not cut out to play for a title-chasing squad, amid reports linking the Belgium international with a big-money move to Manchester City.
De Bruyne only made nine appearances under Mourinho at Chelsea during the 2013-14 campaign before being offloaded to Wolfsburg, where the 24-year-old has transformed his reputation.
The attacking midfielder scored 16 goals and contributed a stunning 27 assists in all competitions for Wolfsburg last season and is now the top target of Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini after the Citizens completed a deal to sign Raheem Sterling from Liverpool earlier this summer.
But Mourinho, who is known for acting mischievously at times, claims De Bruyne was unable to handle the pressure of such intense competition for first-team places at Stamford Bridge.
Asked by the Guardian if he was the reason why De Bruyne failed at Chelsea, Mourinho responded: “That is unfair because I wanted to keep him.”
The Portuguese coach continued: “And he told me it was not in his personality to be competing for a position in the team. He needed a team where he knows he can play every game. He needs to know that he is important.
“He did not want a team where he thinks am I playing or not? He needs that trust, he needs that quality. He needs that security. So I was not happy when he left. So yes it’s not fair.”
Mourinho suggest De Bruyne can't handle pressure
Mourinho added: “He didn’t tell me he couldn’t handle the pressure. He told me he wanted to play every weekend. I told him this is Chelsea, you are very young, you have Eden Hazard, you have Mata, you have Willian, you have Schürrle, and I cannot promise you that.
“And the first game of the season against Hull City he played. For the second game against Manchester United, he played. The third game of the season was the Super Cup in Prague, I decided not to play him. For the fourth match, in the Premier League, he was on the bench. And he was not happy. He told me he was not happy.
“He was not training very well and he was saying: ‘I can’t give you more. This is just my way.’
“So yes, I accept that if this is his mentality and it’s his choice to go, it is better for Chelsea to make a good deal. Chelsea made a good deal and he was happy to go and I am happy because the kid is a good kid. And I am happy for him
“Players have different circumstances. We sold him, made our money and it was fantastic because we bought him cheap and sold him for a fantastic price. And now Wolfsburg, if they make a fantastic deal, that is good for them.”
De Bruyne could now cost £60m
it would have been a bigger surprise had Mourinho admitted he’s made a mistake with De Bruyne, who will be eager to continue proving his former manager wrong if he does join City later this summer.
Chelsea fans: should Jose Mourinho have done more to keep Kevin De Bruyne at Stamford Bridge? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!