Earlier today we took a look at Chelsea's unacceptable goal total from thei strikers, trying to figure out which of the three underperforming options might be the best choice at the moment. Jose Mourinho was asked about his misfiring center forwards today, and stop short of a ringing endorsement:
"I think they are players trying to give everything to the team. Working hard, fighting hard and when players try to give everything to my team, I can't criticise."
"If you tell me Aguero has scored already 10 or 12 goals, Negredo 10 or 12 goals, Dzeko four or five, Rooney eight or 10, Giroud eight or 10, Sturridge eight or 10, Suarez 10 or 12, if you ask me would I like my strikers to score eight-10-12 goals, yes. If we had eight-10-12 goals (from the strikers) we would be top of the league. That’s a reality but my strikers give everything and the team works hard."
"It is one thing to improve a player who is 20 years old, which you can. If you can tell me can you improve Hazard? Yes, I can. Can I improve a player who is 30 years old? How? I can’t complain because everyone is working hard, everyone is trying to give their best to the team so I can’t criticize and I don’t."
The report goes on to cite sources close to Mourinho claiming that the boss is still hoping for a new striker in January, specifically one that is younger and performing at a high level. Unfortunately for Mourinho, those sort of players aren't typically available in the middle of the season and are often cup tied in one or more competitions anyway.
All three of the players will certainly be aware of these quotes, and probably the rumors of Mourinho wanting replacements as well. If nothing else that should be a gentle reminder that they need to be significantly better, although Mourinho's point that they're not likely to improve a whole lot at this point is certainly a logical one.
It's going to be interesting to see where this goes in January, but it's pretty clear that the manager is having a hard time coming to terms with the lack of production from our current crop of striking talent. It's really too bad that Andre Schurrle picked up an injury against Stoke this weekend, as Wednesday's game against Steaua Bucharest would have been an ideal opportunity to give that a try. Here's hoping that one of the trio figures something out, and that the next three weeks make this a less pressing issue come January 1st.