English Premiership

Mourinho's 'keeper headache

2014-08-15 21:17
Petr Cech (File)

London - Jose Mourinho knows he faces a tough job keeping both Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea when he finally decides which will be the club's No 1 goalkeeper.

On Friday, Mourinho described the pair as two of the best three goalkeepers in the world and revealed he has yet to announce his line-up for the opening English Premier League game at newly-promoted Burnley on Monday.

Cech, 32, has been the established first choice for the last 10 years but finds himself under pressure from Courtois, 22, who is back at Stamford Bridge after spending the last three years on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Mourinho accepts it will be hard to keep both players happy throughout the campaign - and both have been linked with moves away if they miss out on the top job.

The Chelsea manager insists the club has yet to receive an approach for Cech or Courtois but accepts that situation could change.

But he said: "In this moment I don't want to think about it. There is not an offer, so not a possibility.

"I'm working with them and I told them as a group today, everyone of my players in the squad I'm happy to have them.

"I'm not waiting for anything. It's not good to analyse something that isn't on the table. Every manager in the world would like to have Courtois and Cech."

And referring to the possibility there could be more comings and goings during the final weeks of the transfer market, Mourinho said: "The market is open and experience says we never can say what will happen.

"You never know if a player has a different reaction or opinion in this last part of the month or if any club tries to do something with our players."

The manager is pleased, though, to be confronted with the problem of choosing between two top 'keepers.

He added: "The only thing I can say is in this moment they are working well and hard and we are so happy to have them both.

"I prefer to analyse this in that perspective. During the season if one is definitely my first choice I have to support and stimulate the other one.

"I can't have one of these incredible goalkeepers on the bench three or four months waiting for a Capital One Cup game.

"I have to stimulate the competition and I have to praise some top goalkeeper which is not my first choice.

"I can understand for top goalkeepers that could play in every club in the world, in here, one of them is going to be on the bench. It's a difficult situation.

"The best way for me to work is to think pragmatically, in a cold way, forget a little bit, try to hide the emotions around these situations and decide what I think is the best for the team."

Mourinho played down his side's chances of being crowned champions throughout last season following his return to the club.

This time around he is more confident, having recruited Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba and Filipe Luis.

But the manager refused to install Chelsea as favourites, insisting the club's main challengers have also strengthened well this summer.

He said: "Last season we did not feel as a title contender but we finished very close to the title.

"We were not feeling one of the top favourites for the Champions League and we played the semi-final. We did well.

"This season we bought some key players after our analysis of last season and our squad.

"We believe - more than believe we are already feeling that these new players brought the squad and the team into another dimension.

"If you expect me to say we're going to win the Premier League I can't say that. I have to respect this competition. It is of the country championships the only one which has more than two title contenders."


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