JOSE Mourinho has warned his young winger Kevin De Bruyne that he must battle harder if he is to earn more starts this season.
The promising 22-year-old is used to being a first choice for Belgium – as he was during his loan spell at Werder Bremen last season.
But the Chelsea boss says that although his player has talent, he will only clock up regular appearances at Stamford Bridge if he can play with consistency.
“If he doesn't play 20 matches, it's because he doesn't deserve it,” Mourinho said bluntly, responding to a Belgian reporter asking him about his prospects for the season.
“If he deserves it, he plays, that's for sure. Maybe you should speak to him, put pressure on him. Tell him 'you have to be man of the match' and I'm ready to cope with it.”
The Chelsea boss added: “He's a very good player, but the competition is big and he has to fight.
“Probably in the Belgian national team he knows that he plays all the time and it was the same thing in Bremen. Here the history is different. I let football speak and make decisions because of what they do. So the next time if he plays he's man of the match, for sure he plays the next match.”