Salomon Kalou feels he could have thrived had Jose Mourinho stayed at Chelsea
Lille's Salomon Kalou believes he could have fulfilled his potential at Chelsea had Jose Mourinho stayed on as coach.
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 19/10/12 2:47pm
Kalou, who was released by the Blues in the summer, was mostly a bit-part player during his six years with the Londoners, with 107 of his 254 appearances coming off the bench.
The 27-year-old Ivory Coast international was signed at Chelsea by Mourinho from Feyenoord in 2006 and had a bright start to life at the Premier League club.
Five permanent managers have taken the Chelsea hotseat since the Portuguese departed five years ago, including current boss Roberto Di Matteo.
Kalou says he needs a manager who has faith in him to perform at his top level and feels, had Mourinho stayed, he might have made more of an impact with the Blues.
He told L'Equipe: "If Mourinho would have stayed at Chelsea I could have matched expectations, because what I need is a coach that is backing me 100 per cent."
The winger has had a difficult start to life at Lille after suffering a strained thigh muscle and admits he initially played through the pain barrier to try and prove himself at his new club, which only made matters worse.
However, after a spell on the sidelines recovering fitness, Kalou says he is feeling in better shape.
The Ivorian, who is expected to return to Lille's first-team against Bordeaux on Friday, said: "I took time for a good rest this time."
He added: "I could play despite pain and I wanted to help. But I was finally wise and rest was a good idea.
"I knew the expectations before I signed at Lille. I would have loved to start the season a better way.
"At Chelsea I played one match in three, so I needed a big preparation to try and play the whole season here.
"I have needed time for my body to get used to it. Maybe I paid for it, but now I am reassured for the rest of the campaign."