Jose Mourinho spoke about his latest and last recruit of this transfer window in his pre-match press conference this afternoon.
With our game against Manchester City over 72 hours away, our manager said he had yet to start his work on the game as the players finalise their recovery from Wednesday’s draw with West Ham, but he was able, however, to discuss the league leaders’ credentials.
Today (Friday) is transfer deadline day, so it was no surprise the media conference began with that in mind. Mourinho reported the signing of Kurt Zouma, from St Etienne, would be our last this month, and stressed no first team players would be leaving the group on this traditionally frenzied day of speculation and last-gasp additions.
He began by assessing the acquisition of 19-year-old Zouma, whose signing was confirmed just a few minutes before the conference began. The Frenchman will be loaned back to Saint Etienne for the remainder of this season.
‘He is another young player that fits the profile of some Chelsea signings in the past couple of years,’ said Mourinho.
‘We like his profile and we think it is one that is very much adapted to the Premier League. If we didn’t do it now we probably wouldn’t have been able to do it in the summer because other clubs were also very interested in him.
‘He’s already played a couple of seasons in the French league with Saint Etienne and many matches at different age groups with his national team. We know he is a player with good potential and with lots of space to improve. He’s physically ready but it’s another thing to be tactically ready.
‘He’ll join us in pre-season and we’ll see if he stays or goes out on loan again. He is a young player in a position where we need to think about the future, so job done, well done Chelsea.’
Mohamed Salah, another of our January recruits, trained with the team for the first time today. Asked whether he would be available for Monday’s match, our manager explained he would have to wait and see as Salah had gone a few days without training while he secured a work permit and visa. Prior to that, the Egyptian had been on a winter break with FC Basel at the midway point of the Swiss league season.
Mourinho also reported the game would come too soon for Fernando Torres, the matchwinner in the reverse fixture back in October. We travel to Manchester to face a City side full of goals, and yet to drop points at home this season.
‘We are going to try to win,’ emphasised Mourinho.
‘Chelsea try to win every game. I have always said that about any competition or any game. What concerns me is my team playing well, my team trying to get the best possible result and to feel the improvement.’
Of the Citizens, who we beat 2-1 earlier in the season, Mourinho said the following:
‘I think they have everything. The players are obviously very good and their manager is also doing a good job. On top of that, and this is just pure coincidence, the reality is they have had many crucial decisions in their favour. They were lucky against Liverpool, against Newcastle and against Tottenham. But I repeat this is just pure coincidence.
‘City score goals, and I don’t think for them it is important if somebody is injured. Normally when your approach is very defensive if you concede a goal you are in trouble or you have to make changes during the game and you never know how the player will adapt to it.
‘We are not going to change our philosophy. We are going in a certain direction, and just because we are playing a certain opponent doesn’t mean we are going to change that. We are going to try to win.’