Sunday 27 May 2018

Mourinho content to wait on Rooney as Chelsea strikers hit form

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Jeremy Wilson

JOSE MOURINHO has described Chelsea's mood as "calm" over their pursuit of Wayne Rooney because he is currently so content with his three striker options of Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.

Lukaku has scored four goals in three games during Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia, while Torres will also rejoin the group on Monday, with Mourinho telling the club's £50m record signing that he should be pleased to be surrounded by such quality competition.

Chelsea have had an opening offer of £20m turned down for Rooney and, with Manchester United struggling to land any of their main transfer targets, Mourinho is playing a waiting game before launching an inevitable second bid in the belief that the England forward remains unhappy at Old Trafford.

"We have made that bid which was public and official and after that nothing else," said Mourinho. "We are calm. We are calm because we are happy with what we have."

Mourinho now regards Lukaku as a legitimate challenger to the place of Torres as the club's main central striker in the 4-2-3-1 system he intends to play next season.

"I think Fernando should be happy because we have competition in the team and I think that is good for everybody in every position," said Mourinho. Fernando I think, will be pleased because during his time at Chelsea, he was basically the only striker. After that there was the arrival of Ba in January. Now the team has three strikers."

Chelsea are Manchester United's opponents for David Moyes' first home game as manager, meaning that any Rooney deal is unlikely to be concluded before that fixture on August 26.

With Chelsea's match against Aston Villa having been brought forward to August 21, Mourinho's team will also now go into that Manchester United game having played twice in the opening seven days of the season.

Although the scheduling will give United fully four extra days to prepare for that match, Chelsea will have had the chance to establish an immediate lead at the top of the Premier League.

The Villa match has been moved because it originally clashed with the weekend of Chelsea's European Super Cup fixture against Bayern Munich on August 30.

"It is a difficult week of three matches in a row which is never easy, especially at the start of the season but I think it is fair," said Mourinho.

"It would not have been fair to play this game one month or two months later.

"It is logical to play it at the start of the season, even though it is difficult for us and Villa. We have to play every game against everybody. I am never that bothered about the fixtures."

Chelsea completed their pre-season tour of Asia last night with an 8-1 win over the Indonesia All-Stars, with John Terry starting his third successive match and scoring as well as winning a penalty.

With Terry being regularly dropped last season by Rafael Benitez, the captain has made a very positive impression so far this summer.

"He played well, trained very well and never missed one minute of any training session," said Mourinho.

"That is very important because he is a very important player for us. He has trained very hard for 15 days and most of the days with two sessions so that is more than three hours of training a day. Then he played well for us in all three matches. I am very happy with him."

Enthused

Mourinho was also enthused by some of his younger players yesterday, with 17-year-old trialist Bertrand Traore scoring the best of the goals. Nathaniel Chalobah also impressed in an unfamiliar holding midfield role.

With Lukaku and Ramires each scoring twice, Eden Hazard and Ba joined Traore and Terry in also scoring for Chelsea.

Frank Lampard was again rested as a precaution due to an achilles tendon injury, but will travel to the United States next week when Chelsea continue their preparations in the Champions Cup tournament that will also include Real Madrid.

"On Monday Frank will join the group – we protect every little situation," explained Mourinho.

Torres, Juan Mata, Oscar, David Luiz, John-Obi Mikel and Cesar Azpilicueta will also begin pre-season training on Monday after being excused the trip to Asia due to their involvement in the Confederations Cup.

"It was better to give them a complete month of rest," said Mourinho (left). "Now they are ready to join the team, go to the US and start their pre-season. It will be short but it will be good."

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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