Jose Mourinho has insisted Fernando Torres has a future at Chelsea – but the Blues manager wants more from the much-maligned striker.
Torres, a British record £50m buy from Liverpool in January 2011, was overlooked for a striker-less starting line-up for Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain as Mourinho finally appeared to lose patience with the Spaniard, who has scored 44 goals in 164 appearances for the Blues, including nine in 33 games this season.
“Does he have a future? Yes, he has,” Mourinho said yesterday. “He is under contract, he’s a good professional. Obviously, we want him to score more goals; obviously, he wants to score more goals. When he’s on the pitch he tries to do his best. Obviously we want more. Obviously. He’s the first one that wants more, but he’s the kind of player I respect; he deserves to be respected.”
Nevertheless, Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa remains on the radar for Mourinho, who confirmed that he would be able to spend big this summer without having to sell any of his major names, even with the restrictions of Financial Fair Play. “We do what we can, we don’t do what we cannot,” he said. “We are not going to do it by selling the best players. We want to compete in the Champions League and we do that with stability, not with changing 10 or 12 players every season.”
Asked whether he could spend between £30m and £50m on a world-class striker, Mourinho said: “I think Chelsea can do that on one player. Chelsea cannot do that with four or five players and invest £250m [but on one player] I think it is possible.”
The manager told players and fans who do not believe the Blues can progress past PSG on Tuesday they are not wanted at Stamford Bridge.
“Now is the moment to say that the Champions League is not over; it’s not over, far from it,” he said. “If a player doesn’t believe it’s not over, it’s better to stay at home. If a supporter thinks it’s not possible it’s better to stay at home and watch Dortmund v Real Madrid. It’s not over.”
Although Chelsea’s season is at risk of ending without a trophy, Mourinho was in no doubt they would finish strongly, with his team facing Stoke City in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night.
“In the Premier League, we have six matches to play and the moment we don’t want to give everything to win every match we are not good professionals. It’s not something I accept about me or my players,” he said.
Mourinho has a proud record in European Cup quarter-finals – seven attempts, seven wins – and even though that is under severe risk on Tuesday, he is relishing the prospect, even more than he would an easy game. “It is the kind of match that I want my players to enjoy,” he said. “I want my supporters to too. I will enjoy it. You have to enjoy the difficulty of the situation. If you win in Paris 4-0, you play to control the advantage, [you can] lose 3-0, 4-1 at home. You don’t enjoy it. Let’s enjoy the game.”