José Mourinho has urged Romelu Lukaku to "tell the country why you left Chelsea" after it emerged the Belgium international had made a verbal transfer request just before the September deadline to force a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku, signed from Anderlecht in the summer of 2011 for an initial £12m, had asked to leave after being granted only a cameo performance in the Uefa Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich in Prague on 30 August. The forward ended up missing a penalty in the shootout that night but was already struggling to disguise his dismay that Chelsea had secured Samuel Eto'o 24 hours earlier from Anzhi Makhachkala.
That left him competing with Eto'o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres for a lone forward role in a season that culminates with the World Cup finals and convinced the 20-year-old that he would struggle to feature regularly. His transfer request was dismissed with Mourinho keen for the player to stay and fight for a place in the side. After further discussions with Lukaku, the club and manager relented and agreed to allow him to go on another season-long loan.
The player came close to rejoining West Bromwich Albion, with whom he spent last season on a similar arrangement, but has since scored seven goals in eight Premier League games for Everton. It is understood Lukaku considers his long-term future to be at Chelsea, with the club hoping he will be the finished article for next season.
Mourinho was asked about Lukaku before Sunday's home game against Southampton after the loanee, who is contracted until 2016 at Stamford Bridge, told the BBC that he had not had any direct contact with the Chelsea manager since moving to Goodison Park. "I keep private my conversations with my players," Mourinho said. "There are things in our lives that we have to keep [quiet] for ethical reasons but, for example, one day recently he scored and said he hoped I was watching, like saying: 'Why did he let me go?' And that's what I'm telling him now: tell the country why you left.
"He has to say. Next time ask him why he left on loan one more season. From my angle, I'm happy he's scoring goals against our direct rivals, and he doesn't score against us because he can't. It's phenomenal that you have a player who, even not playing for you, is scoring goals against your opponents. From a practical point of view, that's very good.
"But he's there and it's good for his evolution. It's good for Chelsea because he belongs to us for a long time and I'm happy with that. I just think that, if you keep quiet all the time, you keep quiet all the time. When you enjoy to speak, speak everything. Don't speak only half of it. It's a simple question: 'Why did you leave Chelsea?' Ask him."
Lukaku had earlier admitted to the BBC that he had instigated the move away from Stamford Bridge: "It wasn't the fact that I wasn't wanted. I think I was wanted but I had to make a decision for myself and analyse what was the best thing for me."
Chelsea's staff and the technical director, Michael Emenalo, have been in regular contact with Everton to monitor Lukaku's progress at Goodison and have been encouraged by his impact. Mourinho does not expect to add another forward to his ranks in the January transfer window but will instead reassess the situation next summer.
"The point is not wanting or not wanting, but that the top strikers are already in their clubs, clubs who are not going to open the door for a crucial player to leave," he said. "And the biggest percentage of them cannot play in the Champions League. The investment for players who cannot play in the Champions League we don't think is the correct one.
"We have a plan. We have a board. We have financial rules that we think we have to obey and we have to follow. And, at the same time, we started the season with this group and, most probably, we're going to end with this group. At the end of the season we will be in better condition to analyse our squad, to analyse the market and, normally, make a couple of changes to improve the team for next season. But this season, we are ready to go to the end with the same people."