With the three centre-forwards in the Chelsea squad all finding the net in the past month, scoring six of the team’s last eight goals in league and European competition, Jose Mourinho has discussed the subject of strikers in the lead-up to today’s game.
Fernando Torres is ruled out of the visit from West Bromwich Albion, with the hope now that he will be fit again for the next league outing in two weeks’ time, which means the choice for Mourinho this afternoon is between Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba who both scored against Schalke midweek.
Though pleased his central strikers are finding their goal touch, the manager is unconcerned if their goal totals are being compared unfavourably with strike partnerships at other clubs contesting the league title.
‘We are not playing with two strikers, we normally play with one and with three other attacking players, so it is a different situation,’ Mourinho points out.
‘Our strikers are working well and working hard and the fact they’ve scored a goal, all of them, gives them a different smile and gives all of them confidence. But we are a different team, we are a team where every one of our midfield players and the players behind the striker have enough freedom of movement and space to get into scoring areas and score.
‘All six of our players in front of the back four can score goals. Liverpool and Man United are more about Sturridge and Suarez, Van Persie and Rooney. We are a different team.’
Mourinho does attach a degree of importance to the striker position supplying the most goals in a season, but equally values the fact opponents can’t plan to stop Chelsea finding the net by concentrating on stopping our front man.
‘The strikers of course have to score goals, that is obvious,’ he adds, ‘ but we can even get goals from our defensive midfield player. In our team even Ramires goes forward and gets a good number of goals, and if by the end of the season the defensive midfield player can score six or seven goals, which Ramires is able to do, it means a lot.
‘Of course we cannot do it without goals from our strikers, we don’t need them to be the top scorers individually but we need them to give us some goals between them.’
Mourinho highlights the fact that of the four English teams in Champions League action this week, Chelsea are the only one asked to play with just two days of recovery and preparation time between games. It means we play 24 hours before Manchester United host Arsenal, a match that if it goes the visitors’ way would leave the Old Trafford outfit 11 points off the pace.
‘I think I go to the [ATP World Tour] tennis on Sunday but if I don’t watch that match live I will watch it later of course,’ says Mourinho.
‘If Man United lose against Arsenal it is on the edge for them, but United is United so even 10 or 11 points behind, I wouldn’t say it is over for them.’
– A clip of Jose Mourinho talking to Chelsea TV about the game can be viewed above with the full interview available via the channel’s online access.