A good deal of Jose Mourinho’s recent soundbites have concerned his Chelsea side’s lack of striking options. The site of Samuel Eto’o playing a part in Tuesday’s training, therefore, was a welcome site.
With 11 goals and three assists in all competitions, the Cameroonian striker is Chelsea’s most potent striking option but has been absent from the side since suffering a hamstring strain during the 6-0 victory over Arsenal on March 22nd.
In the three matches since then, Mourinho has handed starts in the #9 role to Fernando Torres and Andre Schurrle, neither of whom made the score sheet. This lack of attacking bite was devastating to Chelsea, losing 0-1 in the league to Crystal Palace – a result that likely cost the Blues the title – and losing 1-3 to Paris Saint Germain – a result that will be incredibly difficult to overturn in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Granted, Eto’o’s participation on Monday was limited to some stretching and light work with assistant first-team coach Rui Faria but it was marketable progress for a player not fit to travel to the Parc des Princes last week.
Overturning the deficit against PSG remains priority #1 for Mourinho, who admitted that he “may risk” plugging Eto’o in.
“Maybe I will pick him,” Mourinho said. “To risk a player you need to have minimum conditions. If you think he’s going to be out after 10 minutes of the game you can’t take that risk.
“If there is a minimum of conditions of risk, then, yes, I will pick him. We need to score goals. If we don’t score a minimum of two goals, we are out. We know that. If we can have everybody available who can give us a chance to score goals, then let’s do that.
“I wanted Eto’o to be on the bench on Saturday [against Stoke] and play 15 or 20 minutes but he was not fit enough. He did not train with the team on Sunday, so we have to see.”