Antonio Conte defends Chelsea's decision to sell Mohamed Salah
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 27/04/18 3:01pm
Antonio Conte has defended Chelsea's decision to sell Mohamed Salah, saying he is not the same player now as he was when he left the club in 2015.
Salah joined Chelsea from Basel in January 2014 but failed to impress, scoring just two goals and being limited to just 19 appearances.
The Egyptian moved to Italy just one year later, firstly with Fiorentina and then with Roma.
Salah returned to the Premier League with Liverpool and has scored 43 goals in 47 appearances in a stunning debut season at Anfield.
All this has made Chelsea's decision to sell the 25-year-old look short-sighted, but Conte - who joined Chelsea in the same summer as Salah permanently left for Roma - has defended the club's decision.
He said: "It's not so simple because we have to compare Salah from over four or five years ago with this Salah.
"I think Salah in the present improved and developed a lot. I think the Italy experience was very important for him and now I'm sure he is a different player compared to the past.
"For this reason, I think it's very difficult to have this comparison."
While Salah has broken records at Liverpool this season with his goal-scoring exploits, Alvaro Morata has scored 15 goals in 44 appearances and Olivier Giroud has four in 13 since joining Chelsea.
Conte has regularly bemoaned his side's struggles in front of goal and, while he did offer praise to his two strikers, he again highlighted his lack of a "top scorer".
He said: "This season, for sure we are struggling a lot to have a top scorer in our team. It's important to score if you start the game or if you come on during the game.
"I think they played a really good game against Burnley and they showed me that I have another option - to play with two strikers. They showed a great link between them.
"I am very happy for Giroud's performance against Southampton and I am very happy for Morata's performance against Southampton.
"I have two strikers in a good physical condition and I think is very important for the final part of the season."