“I’m not happy with my strikers’ performances, so I have to try things. And with André [Schurrle] at least I know we have one more player to have the ball, one more player to associate with the other players, and even if he is not dangerous because he’s not a striker, he can associate and the team can have control of the ball possession like we had.
“Football is not just about that. It’s also about scoring goals, getting behind, and that is for strikers. Real strikers.”
It is rather ironic that, in a season throughout which he’s constantly bemoaned the lack of firepower at his disposal, Jose Mourinho has hit the target – in this case, his strikers – with a regularity that his frontmen can only dream of.
How Mourinho have must envied Paris Saint Germain last night. Not because they ran out 3-1 winners and stand a much better chance to progress to the semifinal than Chelsea do – even though the Blues are more than capable to overturn the deficit next week – but because of the abundance of striking options at Laurent Blanc’s disposal.
When Zlatan Ibrahimovic left the pitch injured, Blanc was able to deploy Edinson Cavani – a man who has scored 18 goals in 28 games between Ligue 1 and Champions League this season – in his favourite role, rather than on the right where he had been exiled for over an hour.
On the other side of PSG’s three-pronged attack stood Ezequiel Lavezzi, who last night struck his nine goal in 26 appearances. Hardly an impressive return, one might argue, but considering that the Argentine is deployed as attacking midfielder or second striker, his return is still superior to what Fernando Torres and Demba Ba – centre-forwards by trade – have managed in the whole season.
Chelsea’ most potent attacking weapon this season has been Eden Hazard and while Samuel Eto’o and Oscar have both reached double digit in terms of goals scored this season, neither can be trusted to provide the bulk of Chelsea’s goal return and the same can be said of Andre’ Schurrle.
Eto’o's fragile muscles have given way at the worst possible moment as far as Chelsea are concerned, while Oscar’s main duty should be to supply chances rather than convert them and Schurrle is not a traditional centre-forward.
Mourinho’s decision to constantly blame his strikers is doubly bizarre, for not only it dents his players’ already low confidence, but it also misses the point rather spectacularly, given that one of the reasons for Chelsea’s predicament up-front is Mourinho himself.
The Portuguese’s decision to loan Romelu Lukaku to Everton last summer was puzzling, given Chelsea’s failure to recruit a world class striker and considering the Belgian had impressed on loan at West Brom last season.
Lukaku might not be the finished article just yet, but he would undoubtedly offered more than Torres and Ba have done this season, particularly as unlike them, the Everton man’s confidence is an all-time high.
Mourinho’s teams have always been built upon a solid defensive foundation, but if Chelsea are to turn from little horses into thoroughbreds next season, then he must solve his striker conundrum.