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Mourinho plays down Torres talk

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists there was no ulterior motive behind his decision to leave Fernando Torres out of his squad on Saturday.

Torres was an unused substitute for the 3-1 Premier League win at Burnley on Monday, but the striker failed to gain a place in Mourinho’s matchday 18 on Saturday as Chelsea defeated Leicester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard’s exclusion has fuelled speculation that he could be set for a move away from the club before the transfer window closes on September 1, but Mourinho has dismissed any such talk.

“I decided to keep the same team,” he said. “I decided to have a bench with a complete balance.

“Sometimes I can have two strikers on the bench and sometimes I can’t and my decision went in that direction.”

Mourinho also categorically denied rumours that Torres is on his way to Serie A giants Milan.

“No,” he said. “I want three strikers in the team. Sometimes I want to play with two and have one on the bench, sometimes someone will be suspended or injured.

“I can’t do a season without three strikers. I want him.

“He will play and he will score goals, he’s a fantastic guy and a fantastic professional so no problem.”

Diego Costa and Eden Hazard scored second-half goals for Chelsea as they eventually overcame a stubborn Leicester team, who saw David Nugent waste a golden chance with the game still goalless.

And, despite boasting a maximum return from Chelsea’s opening two Premier League games, Mourinho believes there is still plenty for his players to work on.

“I told them [at half-time] the way we were playing was not good enough to win the game and that we were in risk,” he said.

“It is impossible to play football if you don’t win one single second ball. So, basic things, but important things. In the second half, we were much more aggressive and won the second balls.

“In the second half, we were too strong for them but I don’t forget that at 0-0 they have one situation face to face with {Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut] Courtois.

“We have lots of work to do. You can never stop thinking you can improve and our first half showed clearly we have to improve.

“The team was lazy in the first half, which I didn’t like. The second half was good and it is important not to lose points at home.

“I have to say well done to Burnley and Leicester because they play to win. They didn’t play with fear or negative thinking, they were positive all the time so it was good.”

Sat 23 August, 2014
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