Andre Schurrle is 'not a striker' says Jose Mourinho, despite hat-trick for Chelsea against Fulham
German scored a hat-trick in Chelsea's 3-1 victory over Fulham on Saturday
Glenn Moore is Football Editor for The Independent and a Uefa B licence holder. Glenn has worked for the Independent newspapers since 1993, initially as cricket correspondent of the Independent on Sunday, subsequently as football correspondent of The Independent before becoming football editor in 2004.
Sunday 02 March 2014
Jose Mourinho was quick to downplay any suggestion that Andre Schürrle could solve his goalscoring problems after the German’s treble in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Fulham.
“He is a cold blooded finisher, with good finishing technique, but he is not a striker,” said the Chelsea manager.
Schürrle agreed. “I think I'm more of an attacker than a midfielder like Lamps [Frank Lampard],” he said, before adding, “I can play No 10, on the right side or something in between to get my runs from the deep and get some shots in.”
''I think for me, when I play on the right wing and Eden [Hazard] on the left it's perfect because I know he can take on two or three people and have the quality to make the pass to me. When I start my run, he always knows that I'm running and sees me. There were two perfect passes from him [for Schürrle’s first two goals].”
Indeed. Clinical finisher he may be, but Schürrle likes to attack space, not play with his back to goal. Which suggests at home, in particular, when opponents sit back, his goalscoring opportunities would be fewer. Then Mourinho would call for Samuel Eto’o, omitted from the matchday squad at Craven Cottage.
“Eto’o scores goals, but at home,” said Mourinho. “He scores in the league, in the Champions League, but all of them at home. I think away is more difficult for him. He is our best striker to play at home because of his technique, his movement and his understanding with Eden and Oscar. Away he is showing some difficulties so we made the decision to start with Fernando [Torres] and have Demba [Ba] for the last part of the [Fulham] game.”
Schürrle was poor in the first half. So were his team-mates but only Schürrle earned derision by wildly miscuing a free-kick. “When I took that free-kick and sent it into the crowd I admit I was thinking 'Oh my God – it's not going to be a good afternoon for me!' But like the team, I changed in the second half.”
The catalyst was Mourinho telling the team at half-time: ''It's your s*** – sort it out!'' then leaving the dressing room.
Schürrle said: “He was only in the dressing room for 10-15 seconds, told us something I can’t repeat, then left. Everybody knew we had to change and do our best to win the game.”
That is the Mourinho effect. In a similar vein Schürrle seems to have accepted being left on the sidelines, despite being an £18m signing, until he adapted to Mourinho’s demands.
This was only his second league start since scoring twice at Stoke in early December and Schürrle said: “We talked a lot. He told me I needed to change, to change my game and my body. And that's what I've done over the last two months. I've really worked very hard to be aggressive, to be in a good shape with my body. I did a lot in the gym. Now I'm ready to play more often.”
Chelsea’s victory took them four points clear but Mourinho insisted Manchester City, who would lead on goal difference were they to win their two games in hand, remained title favourites.
“I prefer to have the destiny in my hands, and only they have destiny in their hands,” he said. “If [Chelsea] win every game until the end of the season, all 10 – which we won’t – but if we do, maybe we are not champions. If they win all 12 games they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands.”
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