Thibaut Courtois has revealed that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho became distant from Chelsea players during his final days at Stamford Bridge, following a string of disappointing results that eventually cost him his job. The Belgian goalkeeper also suggested he would like to return to La Liga when his contract with the Blues expires in the summer of 2018, amid reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid.
The 24-year-old returned to Chelsea in the summer of 2015 following an impressive three-season loan stint at Atletico Madrid, where he helped Diego Simeone's side conquer La Liga ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as gaining Europa League and Copa del Rey titles.
Mourinho decided to recall him for Chelsea and give him the number one shirt at Chelsea ahead of club legend Petr Cech. Courtois helped the Blues win the Premier League and League Cup in his first season at Stamford Bridge, before enduring a campaign to forget last term.
The Portuguese boss was sacked in December following a terrible start to their title defence, before taking to United job in the summer.
Courtois revealed in an interview with Marca that Mourinho had as close a connection with his players at Chelsea as Simeone had at Atletico Madrid. However, the keeper admits the 'The Special One' became distant when the Blues started to lose games.
"[Mourinho] works a lot on tactical aspects and is also a winner. He normally gets close to players, but when results don't go his way, like last season at Chelsea, you could feel there was a certain distance," Courtois admitted.
Speaking about Simeone, the Belgian added: "He lives for football and has a huge winning mentality. Everything he puts in, the team gives him back. The way he transmits [ideas, feelings] is incredible, just by speaking he can make you believe and push your limits. And that's what we did. The reason Atletico were better was because we were motivated. We believed and believing is power."
Courtois also admitted he would like to be back in La Liga sooner rather than later.
"When I left Spain, I knew that I would return one day," the keeper said. "I have a contract with Chelsea for the next three seasons. In 2018, when I'm in the last year of my contract, I'll evaluate whether it makes more sense to stay or to go."
Reports in Spain in recent months have linked him with a move to Atletico's archenemies Real Madrid, especially after Los Blancos failed to sign United keeper De Gea to fill the gap left by Iker Casillas last summer.
But Courtois said: "I only see what appears in the press, but for my profile, I guess many clubs look at me. I could adapt to the game of any team. What I do know is that Real Madrid made a very nice gesture to me. When I hurt my knee I was sent a fax wishing me a speedy recovery."