Saturday 24 February 2018

Mourinho insists no strikers on wish list as Blues braced for holiday fixture blitz

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Tom Cary

Jose Mourinho has promised Ashley Cole, Juan Mata and others seeking opportunities in the Chelsea squad that they will get their chance in the next week.

Tomorrow's Premier League match with Southampton is the first of nine matches in December for the Blues, who return to Stamford Bridge bidding to show improvement from their last home match, the 2-2 draw with West Brom, and most recent result, Tuesday's loss at Basel.

"Now is time for the squad," Mourinho said. "And now is time for everybody to feel that they have a chance, when we play now Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday – Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke."

Mourinho also downplayed a potential move for Porto's Colombia striker Jackson Martinez, saying he was happy with his forward options Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba.

"In the January market we are not going to buy any striker. We will go to the end of the season with Fernando, with Samuel and with Demba. Nobody to go in, nobody to go out," he said.

Chelsea also have Romelu Lukaku, terrorising Premier League defences on loan at Everton, to return following his season-long stay at Goodison Park.

Asked about Lukaku, Mourinho called on the Belgium striker to reveal why the loan move took place.

"Romelu likes to speak," Mourinho said. "He's a young boy. But the only thing that he didn't say is why he went to Everton on loan. My last contact with him was to tell him exactly that. 'Why you never say why you are not here?'

"It's something that he should say, because he likes to speak – the reason why he is not with Chelsea and he is in Everton."

Torres is available again after returning in the Basel loss in place of Eto'o, who went off injured and faces around two weeks out with a groin injury. David Luiz missed the trip to Switzerland and could again be absent with his knee injury despite returning to training.

Chelsea have won 38 of the last 42 Premier League points on offer at home, but needed a controversial penalty against West Brom on November 9 for Mourinho to extend his unbeaten league record at Stamford Bridge to 66 games.

Following last Saturday's comprehensive defeat of West Ham, the Basel trip, which saw Chelsea advance to the Champions League knockout stages despite a second defeat to the Swiss side in Group E, highlighted the team's inconsistency.

The pressure is on Chelsea to show the latter result was a blip.

"We are in a close distance to the (Premier League) leader, we are qualified for the last 16 in the champions, we are in the League Cup quarter-final. Our situation is okay," Mourinho insisted. © Daily Telegraph, London)

Chelsea v Southampton

Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports 1, 4.10

Irish Independent

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