Mourinho's thoughts on striker search will hurt former Liverpool forward.
Jose Mourinho was asked whether he would consider a move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney in January, and while he batted that question aside by laughing and asking ‘who is linking him with us?’ his follow-up comments were revealing in the extreme.
“Some strikers are players with fantastic individual qualities and they can by themselves do what their team is not able to do,” Mourinho said. “The world has a lot of examples. Teams not playing especially well, but they have certain kind of individual players that by themselves can be the solution for the team problems.
“Our strikers are not individual players with this kind of quality, this potential. They are more in the team dynamic. They do other things for the team. At the moment, the number of goals is frustrating, not just for me but especially for them, but their contribution is good.”
Those words will surely hurt Torres more than any statistic will. Mourinho has effectively said that Torres possesses none of the magical quality he did when he signed from Liverpool two years ago – once compared with Lionel Messi, Torres is now just another striker.
Of course, the statistics do lend weight to Mourinho’s assertion. Torres is clearly not the same player he was in his glory days at Liverpool, when he regularly scored 30 goals a season.
So far this season he has found the net only five times in 16 games, the last of which was the winner over ManchesterCity in the Premier League almost a month ago. Even then, Torres’s winner was not a moment of brilliance, rather the result of a mistake in the City defence.
But to hear his manager so publically imply that Torres now classed with the likes of Demba Ba will surely only further hurt the Spanish striker, as will the constant references to Rooney.
The flashes of quality come and go, in fits and starts, but it is clear that Torres is playing for a manager who has no particular belief in his own quality.
The striker has fallen a long way in the last two years, and up until now no-one has put it quite so succinctly as his own manager.
image: © stephyhan