In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Kevin De Bruyne talks frankly about his failure to establish himself as a Chelsea player and Aston Villa manager Dean Smith downplays injury fears over Tammy Abraham after he was taken off with a hamstring problem last weekend.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
De Bruyne opens up on his Chelsea exit
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has admitted that his youthful naivety contributed to his departure from Stamford Bridge in 2014 after he had played only nine senior matches for the Blues.
In a revelatory article on The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform providing content written by professional athletes, the Belgian midfielder opened up his time with the Blues and his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho before he was sold to Wolfsburg in January 2014.
After a successful loan spell at Werder Bremen, De Bruyne was informed by Mourinho that he would be part of the Chelsea squad for the 2013/14 season.
He was in the starting line-up for our season opener against Hull City, providing an assist for Oscar in our 2-0 win but started only one more league game before being benched by the manager.
‘After the fourth game, that was it. I was on the bench, and I never really got a chance again. I didn’t get an explanation. I was just out of favour for some reason,’ wrote De Bruyne.
‘And, of course, I made some mistakes myself. I was a bit naive about the way that you have to handle yourself as a Premier League footballer. What I think most fans don’t realize is that when you’re out of favour at a club, you don’t get nearly the same attention during training. At some clubs, it’s like you don’t exist anymore.
‘If it happened to me now, it wouldn’t be a problem. I know enough to be able to train on my own and take care of myself. But when you’re 21, you don’t understand what it takes. When I got another chance to play, against Swindon Town in the [League] Cup, I wasn’t in good shape. And then that was pretty much it for me.’
When it became clear to De Bruyne that Mourinho was unlikely to give him more playing time in a squad full of attacking players including Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar, Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle, he decided he needed to move on and joined Wolfsburg in January 2014.
‘I was completely honest. I said, “I feel like the club doesn’t really want me here. I want to play football. I’d rather you sell me,”’ the Belgian added.
‘I think José was a bit disappointed, but to be fair to him, I think he also understood that I absolutely needed to play. So the club ended up selling me, and there was no big problem at all.’
Abraham injury fears allayed
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has eased concerns about the fitness of Tammy Abraham after the Chelsea loanee was taken off with a hamstring issue during Villa’s 2-1 win over Bristol City last Saturday.
The 21-year-old striker has been in fine goal-scoring form with three goals in Villa’s last four games, but there were concerns he could be out for an extended period after he was taken off midway through the second half against Bristol City.
However, Smith insisted to the Birmingham Mail that it was merely a precautionary measure.
‘Tammy was fatigued, he has put an awful lot into the last two or three games and his hamstring had just gone tight,’ he explained.
Abraham has scored 24 goals this season and is the Championship’s second highest scorer behind Teemu Pukki of Norwich City, who has 27.
Warnock to appeal charge from Chelsea game
The BBC reports that Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock will appeal against his FA disrepute charges after he called Premier League referees the ‘worst in the world’ following his side’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea last month.
The 70-year-old was incensed after the officials allowed the Blues’ equaliser to stand despite goal scorer Cesar Azpilicueta appearing to be in an offside position.
Warnock has refused to step back from his remarks.
‘I've pleaded not guilty to the charges and I expect to have a hearing some time this week, I hope,’ he said.
‘But it can't come early because we've got a game (Brighton) on Tuesday and I've got a funeral on Wednesday.’