Following a good weekend win in which his centre-forwards contributed to the scoreline with three goals, Jose Mourinho has spoken further about his three strikers, including an injury update on Fernando Torres.
The Spaniard, originally selected to start against Tottenham, missed out due to an injury in the warm-up, so Samuel Eto’o kicked-off instead and scored the opener, before being replaced late on by Demba Ba who added the last two goals in the 4-0 win.
Ba has been the least utilised of the three this season but is still pleasing Mourinho.
‘Ba is very important,’ he said. ‘I proved earlier in the season that I was right to have three strikers because when one is injured you need the other two. It’s one of the best decisions we made to keep three strikers.
‘It’s good for him that he scored. They’re not the winning goals but they’re goals and they give confidence. He played for 90 minutes for his national team midweek and he came back and scored two, so that’s good.’
For opening goalscorer Eto’o, who added his ninth goal of the season following a Tottenham slip, Mourinho had praise too.
‘In the second half Eto’o was brilliant, said the manager. ‘Vertonghen’s mistake was only a mistake because Eto’o was there. If Eto’o was not there, if Eto’o doesn’t read the situation the defender or the goalkeeper will get the ball.
‘We had two big chances in the first half. The one for Eden Hazard and a two-against-one – Eto’o and Schurrle – when Eto’o makes a decision which I like because I like strikers to be sometimes selfish and he missed the chance.
‘We are not so clinical that we score with our first chance but in the second half we started better and when the chance arrived Eto’o killed the game.
‘He’s not super-fast like he was 10 years ago, so he needs to be close to the goal, he needs his feet in the box and he’s very intelligent in the way he moves.
‘He scored against Cardiff when the goalkeeper dropped the ball, he scored a goal against West Brom when Ridgewell controlled the ball and he came from behind. Now he reads Vertonghen’s mistake. These are fox goals.’
Mourinho anticipates it will be a choice between Eto’o and Ba up front for the next couple of games given the early assessment of Torres’s injury.
‘Torres has a muscular problem,’ he reports, ‘and even when they are small it is always a couple of weeks. He has to go for scans.
‘He’s already had two problems, in both knees, both ligaments, but his recovery was faster than we expected. He also had a little muscular problem and now he’s having another one. Sometimes it happens. There are other players who have the same. Others have a complete season without problems.’