Chelsea legend John Terry has offered a bizarre defence of Jose Mourinho's treatment of Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne.
Both Salah and De Bruyne were unable to make an impression at Stamford Bridge during Mourinho's second stint in charge before being shipped out.
But they revitalised their careers before turning into superstars with Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.
The fact Mourinho was unable to bring the best out of them has been a criticism regularly aimed at the Portuguese boss, who has just returned to management with Tottenham .
Terry has defended his treatment of the pair by insisting they were not up to the standards of the first-team at Chelsea at that time.
But the legendary centre-back bizarrely pointed to Damien Duff and Arjen Robben - two players who left the club before they arrived - as the reason they were kept out of the side.
"In my generation now I see people like Salah and Kevin De Bruyne come through and not being able to match his standards at the time,” the current Aston Villa assistant manager told Dubai Eye radio .
"Now they were very talented but very young individuals as well. But Mourinho didn't have time to put them in the team or take out a Duff or Robben because we was winning every single week and his job is on the line.
"So, like I said before if you come in and you are 10 or 20 per cent below the standard of Duff and Robben who were scoring 20 goals a season each. You are not gonna make that team, no chance.
"Fair play to them they've gone away elsewhere and proved they're good enough but at that present time they wasn't good enough for Chelsea ."
De Bruyne made just three Premier League appearances for Chelsea between 2012 and 2014 before heading to Germany, returning to England with Manchester City in 2015.
Salah played 13 league games between 2014 and 2016 before being shipped out to Italy and joining Liverpool in 2017.
Duff and Robben, regulars during Mourinho's first stint in charge at Stamford Bridge, left West London in 2006 and 2007 respectively.