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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019

Torres still has Chelsea future, says Mourinho

The coach selected winger Andre Schurrle ahead of the Spain forward for the 3-1 quarter-final first-leg loss against PSG.

Chelsea's Fernando Torres stands dejected after seeing his side concede their third goal against PSG.
Chelsea's Fernando Torres stands dejected after seeing his side concede their third goal against PSG.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

CHELSEA MANAGER JOSE Mourinho insists Fernando Torres still has a future at the club despite being overlooked for the Champions League defeat at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mourinho selected winger Andre Schurrle ahead of the Spain forward for the 3-1 quarter-final first-leg loss at the Parc de Princes on Wednesday and later admitted he was unhappy with his strikers’ recent performances.

The Portuguese has made no secret of the Stamford Bridge club’s intention to bring in a top-class forward during the next transfer window, prompting questions about Torres’ prospects at Chelsea.

And Mourinho admitted the player has shown only flashes of his best form since his British record £50 million ($83m, 60.5m euro) move from Liverpool three years ago.

Despite that, the manager is adamant Torres – who has scored just four league goals this season – can still make his mark at Chelsea, providing the striker maintains his commitment to boosting his goal-return.

Mourinho said: “Yes, he has a future. If he wants to improve, obviously. I think everyone wants to improve and Chelsea wants to improve. That’s normal.

“Does he have a future? Yes. He has a contract, he’s professional and works hard for the team. We want him to score more goals. He wants to score more as well – it’s not just me. But yes, he has a future.”

With Samuel Eto’o still struggling with a hamstring problem that will keep him out of Saturday’s home clash with Stoke City and Demba Ba out of favour, Torres will play a leading role in Chelsea’s efforts to maintain their challenge in the Premier League and the attempt to turn things round in the Champions League quarter-final second leg next Tuesday.

Mourinho added: “I think during his period here he had moments, some of them important moments. But long periods performing week-in, week-out, he’s not had a lot. So he’s not had stability in his performance.

“But moments and important goals, despite not scoring a lot at Chelsea, he’s always had these moments.

“I believe in these moments to the end of the season, we have six Premier League matches, one Champions League match that can become three. So, yes, I trust in these moments.

“He’s a good professional and he tries to do his best. People that give everything, you can never blame or complain.

“He gives everything and is a good professional on and off the pitch, he tries his best. We want more, obviously. He’s the first to want more. I respect him and he deserves to be respected. Nothing more I can say.”

- No major squad overhaul -

Mourinho admits he wants to strengthen his squad next season, but ruled out a major overhaul, insisting: “I keep saying, Chelsea are in a process of rebuilding a new team.

“We don’t want to compete in the Europa League, we want to compete in the Champions League.

“We do that by stability, not changing 12 players. Stability means keeping the best players and structure while trying to build.

“Part of the evolution is based on stability and part based on bringing in a couple of players during the transfer window, like we did in the past and are trying to do in the future. Not, for sure, by selling our best players, selling 10 or buying 10.”

Chelsea’s problems up front have thrown the focus on the impressive form of Romelu Lukaku during his season-long loan at Everton.

The Belgium striker is due back at Chelsea at the end of the current campaign but has been linked with a permanent move away in the summer. Mourinho, though, refused to be drawn on the player’s future.

“I don’t think it’s the time to speak about it. He’s a Chelsea player but at the same time he’s an Everton player to end of the season and we want to respect that.

“Everton are being a good club for a loan, our player is there and playing and developing and this is what you expect when you send players on loan.

“It doesn’t happen with every club or player. That loan is working well for Everton, Chelsea and Lukaku.”

- © AFP, 2014

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