Jose Mourinho has no excuses and must deliver trophies to Stamford Bridge this season.
That’s the verdict of former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit, who insists Mourinho has received the backing of the club’s board by being able to sign Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas this summer.
‘Jose is not used to being without trophies,’ said the Dutchman, who left the Bridge in 1998 and is now a pundit for Sky Sports. ‘He wants to win something and this year it has to happen. With the squad they have, they need to win something.
‘That’s what Jose wants and the reason he bought these players. He didn’t have the striker he wanted and now he has it. Now it’s time to produce.
‘He wanted a player who could do what Didier Drogba did for him. He was looking for a player with the same style: powerful and strong, with good technique, someone who can hustle the opposition.
‘Diego Costa is that player. Can he do it in the Premier League? We are going to see. Fabregas hustles and works very hard. He makes sure to keep the opposition busy and can score goals.’
Drogba himself may miss the start of the season after twisting an ankle in Sunday’s friendly against Ferencvaros. A scan yesterday showed no serious damage to ligaments but Mourinho is unlikely to risk the 36-year-old at Burnley on Monday if there is any doubt about his readiness.
The injury is a reminder that Chelsea’s squad remains light on strikers. Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku have all been sold, leaving three senior strikers at the club: Costa, Fernando Torres and Drogba.
Mourinho spent most of last season lamenting the absence of a goalscoring centre forward.
Liverpool were propelled to second place by 31 league goals from Luis Suarez and 21 from Daniel Sturridge. Sergio Aguero hit 17 in an injury-hit season for champions Manchester City and his replacement Edin Dzeko scored 16.
When asked near the end of last season why he thought City had proved so strong, Mourinho cited the quality of Dzeko, their ‘third striker’.
Eden Hazard was the only Chelsea player in double figures in the last Premier League season, with 14, ahead of Eto’o with nine. Costa scored 27 times in La Liga as Atletico Madrid won the title and he will be expected to transfer that lethal strike rate to England.
‘Chelsea are stronger and it is a team that could do really well,’ added Gullit. ‘It would be a surprise if they did not do well and with the players they have you can play attractive football. The thing is Man City have improved, Manchester United want to do well and Liverpool have bought a lot of players. All the other teams have improved.’ – Daily Mail