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Mourinho challenges 'not number two' striker Loïc Rémy to be number one

Ian Walton/Getty Images

It's a three-step master plan, aimed at continued Premier League domination.

Step one: build him up, buttercup.

"[Rémy] works fantastically well even when he is not playing. Even week after week when he was on the bench and Diego was starting matches, he pushed himself always to the limits to be in condition to answer when the right moment arrived."

"Some players when they are not playing, the level of focus and commitment and training goes down, so after that when the team needs them they are not there for the team. Remy is a professional with a great profile, every time working very hard and when he was playing, whether scoring or not scoring, he was always there for the team. Now he has scored two goals in two matches and he makes some important points."

Step two: build him up some more.

"I like him because he can score goals and that is important for a striker but at the same time, his movement is always good and when the team is not in possession, he knows it is better when the team defends with 10 players and he has that contribution. Also when you build the squad, if a player can play in more than one position that is a plus and he can play also wide on the right or wide on the left."

Step three: challenge.

"Since day one when we spoke and Remy was at QPR, he knew we needed a top squad to try to win trophies and he was ready for this new situation in his career which is not to be a clear first-choice."

"He didn't come as a number two. He came knowing that we have a squad with important players and cannot guarantee positions. This is not being a number two. Diego did well enough when he was playing to keep his position, but who knows, if in the next matches Remy performs very well, maybe he makes the situation difficult for Diego when he comes back."

Step four: profit WIN!

Mourinho has spoken many times this season about (the lack of) competition for specific places, about wanting his players to make his job of picking the starting lineup hard.  Arguably, the only two people who have done that are Willian (who deposed André Schürrle at the start of the season) and Kurt Zouma (who had a short run in the side while Gary Cahill re-centered himself).  With a straightforward schedule ahead for the rest of the season and Mourinho's preference to play it more old-school with a very much set starting eleven, opportunities to impress and challenge for those first-choice spots will be few and far between.

Technically, Didier Drogba could start tomorrow against QPR as well, but by all indications, it's going to be Loïc Rémy (with Drogba set to continue in his pseudo-Mikel-esque closer role).  And now the carrot of perhaps claiming that first-choice spot has been publicly revealed as well.  Added motivation, hopefully leading to goals, wins, and the title.

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