Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has justified the importance of his three strike options despite lack of goals.
The trio of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’O has scored four Premier League goals so far while the Portuguese tactician has had to rely on the attacking prowess of £18m summer signing from Bayern Leverkusen, Andre Schurrle, in recent matches.
With Romelu Lukaku improving on loan at Everton, Mourinho insists there’s no course for alarm over Ba, Eto’O and Torres’ performances, after all they are giving him “other things”.
“We have three strikers which is the perfect number,” said Mourinho in his pre-match conference ahead of Wednesday’s tie with Steaua Bucharest.
“Sometimes I like two on the bench; sometimes I like to play with two. All of them are getting minutes and matches and they are all working very well for the team.
“But the number of goals in the Premier League is not what I want or what they want- that is obvious. Between them they have four goals but strikers also live on other things and they are giving me other things, no doubt. But we have to try to improve and wait for better days to score more goals and feel happier.”
The ‘Blues’ are already through to the knockout stage of the competition but requires a win to secure the group’s top spot, with Basel, who faces a trip to Schalke, a point adrift of the leaders on 8 points.
Steaua are already sure of finishing bottom of the table. The Portuguese boss believes the Romanians should not visit Stamford Bridge nursing the slightest hope of a win.
“I read somewhere that the Steaua coach says he is coming here with his best team and best players to try and finish the group in the best possible way. I would do the same in his position.
“They have been important in the group phase because they took four points from Basel and also drew against Schalke. They were not a team- which we always see in the Champions League- who finished with zero points. They have got three draws and will try to do same tomorrow. We have to try and win game and finish first,” Mourinho added.
Ashley Cole returns to Chelsea’s starting 11 but the manager says he will rest “three” players for the final Group E match.
“I won’t play the same team as the last match because some players need a little rest. We have an important game on Saturday (against Crystal Palace) and then got a League Cup quarter-final tie (at Sunderland) on Tuesday,” he noted.
A Mohamed Salah’s late strike confined Chelsea to a two-legged defeat in the hands of Basel last month followed by victories over Southampton, Sunderland and last weekend’s surprise loss to Stoke City.
Mourinho’s men have conceded 8 goals since losing away in Switzerland the last time out. He believes they were in “trouble” at the Britannia because they failed to “finish off” the game in the first-half and gave away chances in the second period.
“We are creating a lot, we are playing a lot of nice football, we have to finish off opponents. In this moment if you train defensive corners against dummies, I think one dummy will score. All the rebounds go to the opponents, so I think they will go to the dummies too. I meant we were in trouble in that (Stoke) game- it was unbelievable how we lost that game.”