- Jose Mourinho says he is part of what Mohammed Salah has become today
- The Portuguese coach also said he did not sell Salah while he was Chelsea coach
- Liverpool will play Stoke before taking on Roma for the return leg next Wednesday
Jose Mourinho told ESPN Brazil he deserves credit for bringing Mohamed Salah to Stamford Bridge and he is not to blame for selling the Liverpool star to Roma in 2016.
During his second spell with Chelsea, Mourinho acquired the then 21-year-old from Basel for €16.5m in January of 2014.
But the Egypt international had limited opportunities playing at Stamford Bridge before he was loaned to Fiorentina the following winter and then sold to Roma a year later.
Liverpool snapped the left-footed attacker for a then club-record fee of €42m, and has been a revelation for Jurgen Klopp's side, scoring 43 goals in all competitions and being named the PFA Player of the Year.
Speaking to ESPN Brazil, Mourinho acknowledged Salah's blossoming at Anfield.
"I think everything has surprised even him. It has been fantastic," the Manchester United boss said of Salah's breakout season.
"But he is a great player that has reached the peak of maturity, he has already lived several other experiences and now has fitted perfectly into the style of play of the team, of the coach and of the club as well. So it doesn't surprise me that much."
The Egyptian is set to break Ian Rush's Liverpool club record in a season and have been tipped as a potential Ballon d'Or contender following his masterple two-goal and two assist against Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
"It is the first time that I am going to say this, but it is another injustice that has been talked about me.
"People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite.
"I bought Salah.
"It is the opposite. I was the one that bought Salah. I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah. It was with me in charge that Salah came to Chelsea. But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.
"We decided to put him on loan and he asked for that as well. He wanted to play more minutes, to mature, he wanted to go and we sent him on loan to Fiorentina, and at Fiorentina he started to mature.
"Chelsea decided to sell him, OK?
"And when they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie. I bought him. I agreed to send him on loan, I thought it was necessary, I thought that Chelsea had wingers... Some of them are still there like Willian, [Eden] Hazard and all those players already in a different level.
"So the decision to send him on loan was a decision we made collectively, but after that, the decision to sell him and to use that money to buy another player wasn't mine. But even if it was, in football we make mistakes a lot of times, so many times some players develop in way we were not expecting, some other don't reach another level like we thought they would, so I don't even think this is a mistake, it is just part of the job.
"But effectively I did buy Salah, I didn't sell Salah, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that he is a fantastic player, and I am really happy for everything that is happening for him and especially because he scores against everyone and he didn't score against us in two games," he said.
The numbers will be counting again for Salah when Liverpool takes on Stoke City on Saturday then travel to Rome to play the return leg against Roma.
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