Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes that January arrival Mohamed Salah will make his Blues breakthrough next season.
The Egyptian ace – who has been dubbed as his nation’s answer to Lionel Messi – was snapped up by the London club from Basel last month after emerging as one of European football’s brightest talents.
Chelsea paid £11m to beat domestic rivals Liverpool to the 21-year-old, who was said to have been on the verge of joining the Anfield side.
Despite having made a serious effort to land Salah, Mourinho has used him sparingly so far, with his three appearances for the Londoners having all come from the bench.
‘The Special One’ has faith in his new signing, but says that he will have to wait until next season to be a first-team regular:
“He was not in the game [against Manchester City]. He has that [pace] but he was not in the game,” he is quoted by the Daily Star.
“It’s important for him to come step by step and try to improve and adapt. This is a different world, a different quality of football to the one he comes from.
“You know, playing at Stamford Bridge is not the same as playing for Basel.
“With Basel you play to enjoy your time and you have nothing to lose. While in the blue shirt, you have 40,000 people that you are required to please. Everyone wants you to be decisive, all the time.
“So I think Mohamed needs six months to adapt to our game and the demands of the Premier League.
“I am calm and I’m telling him he has time because we have confidence in him. I think next season is Mohamed Salah’s breakthrough season.”