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Jose Mourinho hints at U-turn on Roma exit plan amid Chelsea return speculation

Jose Mourinho has admitted he could have left Roma in December but decided to stay at the Serie A club - as speculation over a possible return to the Premier League with Chelsea continues.

The Portuguese was linked with a remarkable move back to the Blues last month as he grew disappointed at how much money he has at his disposal at Roma. The Italian club spent just shy of £7million last summer, having brought in five players on free transfers, including Paulo Dybala, Georginio Wijnaldum and Nemanja Matic.

It was reported that Mourinho was also keen on moving back to London, where he has lived for the majority of the last two decades since his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge. And the 60-year-old was contemplating his decision while Roma and record signing Tammy Abraham were enduring a rocky patch of form.

"There was a short period this season when I had a few doubts about Abraham. Not about his qualities as a player, but about him, he had a difficult period. Now, however, if he doesn’t score a goal, then he still gives an important contribution," Mourinho told DAZN.

"He did everything perfectly in the second half, holding the ball up, helping in defence, interacting very well with Paulo. It’s a positive moment for him."

He added: "I could've left in December and didn’t, this is my life, every day there is a game. Sometimes it might seem as if we are struggling, but we are up there with all the others who are very strong."

Tammy Abraham celebrates after scoring for Roma on Saturday (


Getty Images)

Roma returned to winning ways with a 2-0 success over Empoli on Saturday afternoon. Roger Ibanez gave Mourinho's men the lead, before Abraham scored just his second goal in five matches to earn them a much-needed three points in the race for a Champions League spot.

They now sit third, level on points with second-place Inter Milan but it is very tight at the top of the table below Napoli, who are miles clear in the first. And after his side's win against Empoli, he revealed it was a massive victory in the fight for a top-four finish.

Mourinho continued: "We saw the first 30 minutes with a perfect gameplan. The intensity dropped later, not that I wanted to, but because that is our nature. Paulo had a few fitness issues, Lorenzo Pellegrini made an extraordinary effort to take part.

"I am happy, because we play within our limitations, but we do what we need to do. We picked up three points against a difficult team, I told Paolo Zanetti that too. At this moment, Empoli are in excellent shape, perhaps the best, and I consider it an important win because it was against a very difficult team."