The former Blues boss wasn’t renowned for giving opportunities to youth players but thinks their controversial loan system has now been vindicated
Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea’s controversial loan policy has been vindicated, as the Blues now have the players needed to cope with their transfer ban.
Chelsea’s policy of hoovering up talented young players before sending them out on a seemingly never-ending succession of loan deals has drawn criticism from plenty, but it does leave them with options ahead of the new season.
Incoming manager Frank Lampard is expected to put plenty of responsibility on the shoulders of players like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount, who both starred in the Championship last season.
“It depends on what you have in the academy, that’s the point,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “I think every manager in the world loves to play kids from the academy.
“The question is: what is the product from the academy? What can you work with to improve?
“I think Chelsea is a very special club in relation to that. I just give an example: Chelsea needs a centre-back – Kurt Zouma! You don’t need to buy, you don’t need to spend. Zouma!
“He’s champion of England, he played for Chelsea, played for Stoke in the Premier League, played for Everton in the Premier League, played for France. He’s your player, he’s on loan, where are you going to buy a better player than him? You already have him.”
Mourinho, who was sacked as Chelsea manager in 2015 with his side 16th after selling young players like Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku, also believes Lampard should ignore potential transfer targets and put his faith in 21-year-old Abraham.
“You want a young striker – Tammy Abraham!” he said. “He’s yours. He knows the club. He was made at the club, he was educated at the club.
“He was on loan, he played already some matches in the Premier League, he plays in the Championship, but Championship at the highest level with the responsibility to play at a big club like Aston Villa. He’s ready.
“Do you need to buy a young centre forward? No! And Chelsea were criticised many times with the number of players they had on loan, more than 30 players, 40 players, but now the moment arrived and they have answers like nobody else could have.”
Chelsea are going into the season with Lampard looking to improve the mood around Stamford Bridge.
Despite a third-place finish, Carabao Cup final and Europa League win, Maurizio Sarri’s exit to Juventus came as a relief to many fans who are glad to see Lampard brought home after guiding Derby County to sixth in the Championship.
Mourinho does see one big problem at the club – an Eden Hazard-shaped hole in the starting eleven.
“The only problem for them is obvious which is that they lost a phenomenal player,” he admitted.
“Eden Hazard was a special player for Chelsea and they lost him, apart from that I don’t see any problem for them.”