Mourinho eager to add to Chelsea squad before window shuts
The reigning Premier League champions had a £38 million ($58 million, 52 million euros) bid for Everton defender John Stones rejected, despite the centre-back submitting a transfer request.
Everton’s determination to hold onto the player –- the latest bid was Chelsea’s fourth –- has prompted the Blues to look for alternatives, with Zhang Linpeng of Guangzhou Evergande emerging as a target.
Chelsea have also been strongly linked with a £70 million move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
Speaking ahead of his side’s meeting with Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge this weekend, Chelsea manager Mourinho refused to comment on individual players.
But he made it clear he is keen to strengthen his squad before the transfer deadline on September 1.
“I don’t speak about players from other teams,” said Mourinho at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, south of London, on Friday.
“I have a good squad. I’m happy with the squad I have.
“If I get another player before the end of the market, good. If not, I go with what we have and I have a good squad,” the Portuguese boss added.
Meanwhile Mourinho was adamant he would not discuss Pogba after chastising Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri for admitting his interest in the Chelsea duo of Ramires and Oscar.
“He (Pogba) is a Juventus player,” Mourinho said.
“The other day I did a little criticism to my friend, Allegri, because I didn’t like him during the summer speaking about Ramires and Oscar. Pogba is a Juventus player. I’m the Chelsea manager.”
– Competitive –
The pressure on Mourinho to add to his squad has eased after Chelsea got their Premier League title defence up and running with a first win of the season, a 3-2 success at West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
That left Chelsea five points adrift of leaders Manchester City after three games.
Mourinho accepted Manuel Pellegrini’s side have started impressively, but insisted an early lead could disappear quickly.
“They’re a very good team, but there are others. They are very good and have started very well.
“But last season Chelsea started the same or better, because we won seven or eight consecutive matches, and we arrived on January 1 with the same points as other teams.
“So it’s good when the start is good, but that doesn’t mean you are going all the way.”
Victory at West Brom came at the cost of a red card to John Terry –- west London club Chelsea’s second in three games — while Mourinho’s side also conceded a second penalty of the campaign.
“I think the most important thing about this start to the season is that it’s not normal that, in three matches, you have two penalties against and play with 10 men twice,” Mourinho said.
“That’s the thing that immediately comes to the mind of someone analysing the situation.
“Apart from that, one match at home, two away, four points; it’s not what we want, but four points is not a drama. We have to keep going, improving.
“We know we can improve and will improve. We’ll try and get a good result. This is the Premier League so, when you are five points behind the leader in another league that can be complicated. In the Premier League, it’s not complicated.”
Chelsea face Crystal Palace in Mourinho’s 100th Premier League home game on Saturday.
The Blues have lost just once in that run, to Sunderland in April 2014, and the manager said: “I’m proud of the record, but I don’t think it has an influence in the future.
“I know it’s not normal. Ninety-nine matches in the Premier League is not 99 matches in a small league.
“It’s the most competitive league. One defeat, and the defeat could happen in so many matches where we were lucky to get a result.
“But I’m only happy if I win tomorrow and I win the last of the 100 matches. If I don’t, I won’t have a happy memory of the last 100 matches.”
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