Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne claims he only spoke to Jose Mourinho twice during his ill-fated six months under the Portuguese manager at Chelsea.
De Bruyne is desperate to prove himself in England with a reported fee of £55million hanging over his head at City, plus his previous struggles to make an impact at Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League can be a brutal place with plenty of talented footballers having been branded failures by the English media and fans for poor stints in England, despite having had successful careers elsewhere both before and after.
Think Shinji Kagawa at Manchester United or Andre Schurrle at Chelsea.
But De Bruyne said his critics forget he first joined Chelsea at just 20 years of age, while he was at the club during the tenures of three separate managers – Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Mourinho – over just two years.
Now at the Etihad Stadium, De Bruyne insists he is a more mature individual, while he said a lack of communication gave him little chance under Mourinho.
“You can’t compare with me two years ago at Chelsea,” De Bruyne said on Friday.
“It’s a different situation and I am a completely different person. I was younger and just didn’t play that much. I wasn’t even on the bench.
“I didn’t get any explanation. I only talked with him twice, Mourinho. That was before a game against Basel in November, where he said I was doing better and that I would get my chance.
“And then again one week before January, that’s the day I said I wanted to go out because, even if I was training better, I was not getting any minutes. So for me it was better to go.”
De Bruyne was sold to Wolfsburg and after an impressive season-and-a-half back in the Bundesliga – where he had previously played on loan from Chelsea at Werder Bremen – the Belgium international earned a big-money move to City.
He is relishing his second chance in the Premier League.
“You know there is going to be a lot of pressure,” he said.
“When I was coming here, the first thing I said to everyone was that when I get to England I will have to prove that I am a good player.
“I know everyone will talk about the money. It was the same in Belgium when I was with the national team for two weeks. They only talked about how much City paid to Wolfsburg, and how much I am going to earn.”
While De Bruyne concedes he was perhaps impatient for game-time at Chelsea, the 24-year-old said he may have played “too much” at Wolfsburg last term and is happy enough to be rotated by City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The former Genk youth player is also happy to play out wide at City as he knows David Silva is Pellegrini’s main option in the number 10 role.
“Even though I played as number 10 a lot at Wolfsburg, I was the guy who was drifting out a lot to the sides. You have to be a little bit open-minded, not fixed on one position,” De Bruyne said.
“I’m not somebody who talks a lot with the coach. Of course, you want to know sometimes what he thinks and what you need to do, or what he thinks you need to do.
“That was maybe the biggest part that went wrong at Chelsea.”