He also offered a possible explanation for the club’s dreadful season, which has seen them completely flop in defence of their Premier League title – with Europa League qualification now looking like a lofty goal.

He told ?The Sun: “It is hard to explain why our season has been bad. Maybe it is as a result of our pre-season preparations, which were very brief. We returned to training on July 16 and six days later we were already playing a match against New York Red Bulls.


“We weren’t in a good physical shape. We then lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield and went on to make a bad start in the league. A downward spiral set in.”

 Speaking about Mourinho, he admitted: “We needed a change of manager at that point — I have no doubts about it. We drew too many matches and we have also conceded goals too easily. I could have done better with some of them.”

Blues forward Eden Hazard has come in for heavy criticism throughout the season, having failed to score a single goal in either the Premier League or Champions League, but Courtois said: “I see Eden in training every day and he is the same player he was last year. He was very strong against Paris Saint-Germain and in other games before then.

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“He made the same runs and moves he made last season. But he did not score or create a goal in those games, so it is easy to criticise him.”