Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois believes Jose Mourinho should not shoulder the blame for Chelsea’s poor form last season.
The Portuguese manager helped Chelsea to the EPL and EFL cup in 2014-15, but was sacked in December after winning just four of their opening 16 matches.
Hiddink was interim manager, but could not turn their fortunes around, as the blues could only finish 10th on the log.
Under Antonio Conte, however, Chelsea have re-emerged as title contenders, winning five league games in a row without conceding a goal.
But Courtois maintains the players were as culpable as Mourinho for last season’s slump, even though a change in manager has ultimately galvanised their fortunes.
“He gave me a chance to play at Chelsea, he’s a top manager,” the Belgium international told the Daily Mail. “Sometimes it’s not only the manager [at fault], but he’s the first one that people look at.
“You see it everywhere in football, when results are not there then the first guy who has to go is the manager. It’s not always the managers; sometimes it’s also the players who we have to blame.
“I don’t think we as a team last year were on the same level as the year we were champions.
“It is not only about the manager, but obviously the club has to make a decision at one point and they decided to let him go.
“We decided to play and finish the season as well as we could but we were 10th. That’s obviously very bad for Chelsea.”