Jose Mourinho has revealed he may have to turn to veteran Didier Drogba as his main striker after Loic Remy limped out of last night’s 6-0 Champions League demolition of Maribor.
With summer signing Diego Costa already on the casualty list, Remy limped out of the game with just quarter of an hour gone having earlier fired the home side into a 13th-minute lead, prompting the 36-year-old Ivorian’s quicker-than-expected introduction.
Mourinho later revealed Remy would be sidelined for, at best, a couple of weeks with a groin injury.
He said: “Remy has a problem in the groin. I don’t know, but normally a muscular problem is a muscular problem, so...”
Asked if Drogba is now his number one frontman, Mourinho replied: “I was not expecting Didier to play so long today. I was not expecting him to play 75 minutes, but he had to come on — he was the striker on the bench.
“It was too early with the score at 1-0 with 75 minutes to go, and in the end because the game went in the right direction, Didier could be there and could improve his condition because now is about improving his condition.
“We know the player he is, we know that he can give us still a lot, so it was good for him to be on the pitch for the first time this season for a long time.”
Drogba needed just a few minutes to make his mark on the game as he converted a 23rd-minute penalty to stretch his side’s advantage, although that did not go down particularly well with his manager with Eden Hazard his designated spot-kick specialist.
The Portuguese said: “Yes, I was surprised. [I was] not particularly pleased because I have my choices and my choice is Eden is the first-choice and after that, Drogba and Oscar and [Cesc] Fabregas and Diego Costa are the ones in case Eden is not on the pitch. But because it was a goal, I am happy with that.
“We played seriously. We faced the game in the right way and even at half-time with 3-0, the boys kept playing to good speed, good quality, enjoying the game and getting three important point for us, but at the same time, a game that the fans like.”
John Terry showed his powers are far from diminishing as, in his 501st appearance as Chelsea captain, he ran the length of the field to score.
Hazard led a counter attack and Terry broke from his own six-yard box after a Maribor corner to convert a Cesc Fabregas cross from inside Maribor’s six-yard box.
He may have been offside but there was no flag.
Hazard had an effort saved before Terry was felled by a forearm smash by Ibraimi as the pair tussled for an aerial ball.
Hazard contrived to fluff a chance after a one-two with Drogba before the Belgian turned Luis’ cross back into the six-yard box and it deflected in off Viler.
Nemanja Matic’s clumsy tackle on Ibraimi gave Maribor a penalty, but the striker struck the outside of the post as the visitors failed to hit the target.
Dominic Solanke replaced Oscar for his Chelsea first-team debut with 18 minutes to go, becoming the second Englishman on the pitch, aged 17 years and 37 days.
The teenager appeared unflustered by the occasion as Chelsea searched for a fifth.
Willian struck the crossbar with a thunderous effort before Ivanovic was fouled by Suler and Hazard tucked in the penalty.
Hazard pulled down substitute Nathan Ake’s lofted ball and thrashed a shot past Handanovic for a sixth to complete a handsome win.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Luis, Willian, Fabregas (Ake 60), Matic, Hazard, Oscar (Solanke 73), Remy (Drogba 16).
MARIBOR: Handanovic, Stojanovic, Rajcevic, Suler, Viler (Vrsic 56), Mejac, Mertelj, Filipovic, Bohar, Ibraimi (Zahovic 68), Tavares (Mendy 72).
Referee: Danny Makkelie.