Torres still in Mourinho’s plans
While Jose Mourinho salutes the
striking start to Diego Costa’s Chelsea
career, the manager insists he has not
forgotten what another expensive but
more misfiring La Liga import can
contribute to his side’s Premier League
Fernando Torres, Chelsea’s record 50 million pound
($82.84 million) signing, could not even command a
place on the bench as Costa was scoring on his
Stamford Bridge debut in the 2-0 win over Leicester
City on Saturday, a victory which maintained the
club’s perfect start to the season.
At the launch of his fifth season for Chelsea and
having turned 30 in March, the dropping of Torres
felt almost symbolic of his slide from the giddy
heights of his Atletico Madrid and Liverpool heyday.
With the 32 million pound man Costa marking his
territory with a second goal in as many games and as
the returning 36-year-old hero Didier Drogba was
being welcomed back ecstatically, was Mourinho
preparing to consign Torres’ largely disappointing
Chelsea career to history?
Not at all, according to the manager.
Chelsea still needed three top strikers in their squad
and Torres, even if his record of five goals in 28
league appearances last season contrasts starkly with
Costa’s immediate 100 percent strike rate, would be
that ‘third man’.
Happy to dispel persistent rumours that Torres
might be on his way to a loan spell with a top Italian
club, Mourinho instead offered an unforced tribute
to both the player’s abilities and character, insisting
Spain’s former World Cup winner still had plenty
more Chelsea goals in him.
“I want three strikers in the team. I can’t do a season
without three strikers so our squad was made
carefully, with great balance, great work by the top
structure of my club to try to give me with what I
want,” Mourinho explained.
“Torres is one of those three strikers.
“I believe he’ll stay. I want him. He will play, he will
score goals, he will be very useful for us. He’s a
fantastic guy, a fantastic professional. So no problem.
“At this moment, we are playing one game a week
but in September, October, November, December,
there’ll be three matches a week and then
everything is much easier for the players because all
of them will be playing. So there is not stories with
Nando or anyone.”
Asked what Torres had to do to establish himself as
the club’s No 1 striker, Mourinho’s message,
delivered with a smile, was stark.
“Score more goals than the first one,” he said.
For the moment, that ‘first one’ is Costa and
Mourinho was delighted with his initial impact.
“He’s a goalscorer,” the Portuguese added.
“The goals he scored against both Leicester and (in
the 3-1 win at) Burnley are striker goals. He smashes
and he scores. This is what we need. We need a
striker to score goals and Diego is doing that for us.”
Costa’s old Atletico teammate Thibaut Courtois is
also making a major impact for Chelsea with
Mourinho having entrusted the goakeeping duties to
him ahead of the long established Petr Cech.
His excellent save from Leicester’s David Nugent
ultimately proved as important as Costa’s
breakthrough goal in the victory.
Talking of the difficulty of having to choose between
the experience and excellence of the 32-year-old
Cech and the exciting promise of the young Belgian,
Mourinho told the BBC “Match of the Day”
programme: “I love my players and respect them
but I try always to be super professional and try
always to think about my club before my players.
“The point here is not the quality, because Petr is an
amazing goalkeeper. What made me have this
decision was the fact that the kid (Courtois) is 22, a
kid who has only two years on his contract.
If he doesn’t play for Chelsea, he is a free agent. I
made a decision for the team. The kid is answering in
a fantastic way.”
Torres still in Mourinho’s plans