Perhaps because we've seen him play and do well against us for each of the past two seasons, or maybe it's the beard, but it's easy to forget that Mohamed Salah is just 21 years old. He's younger than Oscar. And now he's moved into the big time, where expectations have been turned up to eleven (and that's not even counting the pressures and attentions from his far away home).
His three substitute appearances so far have ranged from inconsequential to almost instantly impactful. And had he capitalized on either of his two chances against Newcastle, perhaps Mourinho would not have been moved to say a few words in defense of his newest player.
"You know, playing at Stamford Bridge is not the same as playing for FC Basel."
"With Basel you play to you enjoy your time and you have nothing to lose. While in the blue shirt, you have 40,000 people that you are required to please. Everyone wants you to be decisive, all the time."
"So I think Mohamed needs six months to adapt our game and the demands of the Premier League. I am calm and I'm telling him that he has time because we have confidence in him. I think next season is Mohamed Salah's break-through season."
Even Eden Hazard, who hit the ground running at the start of last season, needed a bit of time to truly adapt his game to the Mourinho mould. We've seen a similar acclimatization period from Willian as well, who has now firmly displaced early-adapter André Schürrle in the pecking order.
Judging by the player ratings, the sentiment has yet to turn positive from the initial, general skepticism on Salah. Fortunately, he's got plenty of time to work his way into our hearts.