Jose Mourinho has never been a manager short of a strong opinion.
And in October 2014, when his Chelsea side beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1, was no exception.
The Portuguese manager, who is now in charge of Tottenham Hotspur after a stint at Manchester United, took aim at his players for their display in the League Cup fourth-round match.
Playing that day was a certain Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian was handed a rare start in a much-changed side.
After the game, Mourinho said he was disappointed by certain performers in the match against Town and already knew what team he was going to pick to play in Chelsea’s next match.
He said: “I expect players to give me problems. I love problems. But a lot of them didn’t and they’ve made it easy to choose my team for Saturday.
“If players that played 90 minutes two days ago were fantastic, I expect people who are not playing a lot to raise the level to create no problems.”
Mourinho was then asked specifically if Salah and Andre Schurrle had disappointed him and he replied: “Yes.”
Naturally, the boss didn’t pluck these comments out of thin air and it’s fair to say Salah didn’t exactly light up the tie.
Indeed, having seen a miscued shot end up going out for a throw-in during a game in which he struggled but it was seemingly more down to the fact he didn’t fit into Mourinho’s jigsaw that day rather than possessing an apparent lack of ability.
The Portuguese boss handed Salah just 19 appearances after his move to Chelsea from Basel in January 2014 before moving him on to Fiorentina just a year later.
Salah shone in Serie A – first with La Viola, and then Roma – to earn himself a £36.9million move to Liverpool.
And now the Reds face Shrewsbury Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, which it would seem gives Salah the perfect opportunity to put his previous performance against the now League One side to bed.
However, the Egypt international is likely to be rested and therefore not in the starting XI – though there would be no doubt he has grown into the player who could, with respect, tear into any lower league opposition defence given the chance.
And that is because he has catapulted himself into the upper echelons of the world football talent pool since arriving at Anfield in 2017, becoming a phenomenon on Merseyside and a player who is now widely regarded as one of the best attackers on earth.
In 2018 Mourinho came out to ‘set the record straight’ about the “injustice” over claims he let the Salah go too soon from Chelsea.
“It is the first time that I am going to say this, but it is another injustice that has been talked about me,” he said.
“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?
“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 about everything that is happening to him.”
Later in the same year, Mourinho came out to say that Salah gave Liverpool “nuclear strength”.
“The Salah I knew at Chelsea was a project player,” Mourinho said.
“Now he is one of the best in the world. He has developed incredibly well since then on every level. He was a fast, fragile boy, and [now] he is a fast, strong man; physically amazing.
“He was not psychologically adapted to the Premier League when he came from a small club in Switzerland [Basel] to a big club in England. I played him at White Hart Lane and The Eithad, and it was too much for him. Now he plays anywhere, Barcelona, Madrid, and he’s like, ‘I am Mo Salah, and I am afraid of nobody’.
“Liverpool have many strengths, but he is a nuclear strength.”
Effectively, after Salah proving his undoubted talent to the world, Mourinho felt compelled to come out and lay claim to the fact he was the one who wanted the Egyptian and didn’t want to sell him.
And while that may be true, whatever the case Mourinho must be regretting his Shrewsbury outburst.