Jose Mourinho was reluctant to discuss any interest in Wayne Rooney but the Chelsea boss admitted his admiration of the Manchester United star.
The 27-year-old striker flew out of Bangkok hours before Chelsea arrived after scans revealed a hamstring injury will keep him out for a month.
Conspiracy theorists have leapt on Rooney's departure as evidence his future at Old Trafford is limited given the forward is still to offer any indication that he wants to stay, despite United's repeated claims the England international is not for sale.
Chelsea are one of the clubs said to be interested in Rooney.
And whilst Mourinho accepted etiquette dictates that he should not discuss other clubs' players, the Blues boss could not resist.
He said: "I cannot speak about players from other teams but you know me...
"I have always said what I think and I like the player very much.
"I cannot say more than that. He is fast and direct. I like him but he is a Manchester United player."