Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho dismissed rumors that one of his high-profile strikers would be leaving for AC Milan while admitting another will be hard-pressed to play this weekend.
Speaking at his Friday press conference before a weekend match with Everton, Mourinho said any notion that Fernando Torres is set to leave Stamford Bridge was news to him.
He also said Diego Costa is doubtful to play against the Toffees, but would not rule out the Spanish striker’s chances despite some reports saying a hamstring ailment could keep him out for more than a month.
From the BBC, on Torres:
“What we have clear as a club is that we need three strikers to face this season,” says Mourinho.
“He is one of them. I like him as a person, I like him as a player so that if he wants to leave, it would be something he didn’t say to me until this moment. Our belief for a long time is that the squad is closed.”
And on Costa:
“We are trying everything for him to play tomorrow. He didn’t train for the last two days. Today is the last day. He is a big doubt, let’s see. Everyone else is fit. “
It’s the first true test of the season for Mourinho’s men, and it will be much tougher without Costa (though Everton has allowed two goals in each of their matches). As for Torres, surely he’d benefit from a move away from London. The 30-year-old’s 11 goals in all competitions last season didn’t match his 22 the previous season, and are a far cry from his goal-a-game Liverpool strike rate.
So is Jose playing mind games, or will he keep the Spanish forward (especially in light of Costa’s hamstring concerns)?