Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, André Schürrle, Willian, Kevin De Bruyne: six players who are all quality Premier League starter material. Sometimes they're joined by a seventh even, Ramires. The trouble is, on most days, we'll only ever have three starting spots for them. Somebody will always be left off the squad. On Saturday, it was Kevin De Bruyne's turn, unsurprising after Mourinho's comments.
Asked whether he had been impressed by De Bruyne’s performance against Swindon in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, Mourinho replied "not so much". "The next time Kevin is on the pitch, he has to think he’s playing for his next appearance. At Werder Bremen [on loan last season] he played every game. Here he’s not playing every game. In Bremen he didn’t need to prove himself so much. This is a different reality. He’s competing against very good players, so every minute he’s on the pitch he has to work really hard."
-source: The Independent
To his credit, and following the lead set by just about every single Chelsea interviewee this season so far, De Bruyne has all the right words in response.
"At both [Genk and Bremen] I fought for [a spot] and then I became more important. Here it is more difficult. It is the usual thing when you have big players and a big squad. Whoever is on the bench always says he isn’t playing enough. I work hard and try to do my best. And I try to show on the pitch, even when I only get five minutes, that I can do something."
"I am a fighter. I learned it at Genk in my first year when we were fighting against going down. Also at Bremen last year it was very difficult. We had to fight more often than not. I will fight again to earn my place."
-Kevin De Bruyne; source: The Independent
Having been successfully persuaded to stay at Chelsea this summer, De Bruyne looked all-convincing after his preseaon efforts. He had been picked as a starter for two of the first three matches. Alas, it has gone downhill a bit since then and he was arguably the worst player in the League Cup third round match vs. Swindon.
Time to step up the fight, Kevin.