Antonio Conte insisted it would be unfair to criticise Chelsea’s decision to sell Mohamed Salah to Roma because the Egyptian has transformed himself into a different player since leaving Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho has defended his role in Salah’s departure recently by insisting that it was Chelsea who ultimately decided to sell the player, but Conte does not believe it was realistic to predict the forward’s explosive development during his unremarkable spell in west London.
“It’s not so simple,” he insisted. “We have to compare Salah of four or five years ago, and not this Salah now. Salah in the present has improved a lot, developed a lot his football. The experience in Italy was very important for him.
“Now I’m sure that he’s a different player compared to in the past. For this reason, this comparison is very difficult.”
Conte’s immediate focus is on preserving Chelsea’s slim hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League. They face Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, two days before rivals Tottenham host Watford, but the Italian dismissed the suggestion that playing first is an advantage for his side.
“The reality is that Tottenham have a big advantage — they have five points more than us,” he added. “The only way to try and put a bit of pressure on Tottenham is to get three points tomorrow. Otherwise it will be very difficult to put pressure on them.”