Jose Mourinho expressed satisfaction with his Chelsea squad after completing the three-match tour of Asia with an 8-1 win over BNI Indonesia All-Stars in Jakarta yesterday.
Chelsea began the journey home after the comprehensive rout — during which Romelu Lukaku scored twice to take his tour tally to four— with no developments on their pursuit of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, for whom they had a bid rejected last week.
“At this moment we have made what you know; that bid which was public and official and after that nothing else,” Mourinho said.
“But we are calm as we told you that we are calm because we are happy with what we have.”
Mourinho was without six senior players for the tour to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. Spain trio Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta, Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel and Brazil duo David Luiz and Oscar had a break following the Confederations Cup and will join the squad in the next few days for four matches in the United States.
With Lukaku’s goals, plus one for Demba Ba and the pursuit of Rooney, Mourinho was asked if Torres’ position is under threat.
The Portuguese added: “I think Fernando should be happy because we have competition in the team and I think that is good for everybody in every position.
“Fernando I think will be pleased because during his time at Chelsea he was basically the only striker and then after that there was the arrival of Ba in January.
“Now the team has three strikers and I think that is good.”
It was confirmed yesterday that Chelsea’s Premier League match at home to Aston Villa has been brought forward to August 21 due to the Londoners’ involvement in the UEFA Super Cup.
It means the Blues, whose season begins at home to Hull on August 18, play two games in four days at the start of the campaign and could get a head start in the title race ahead of a trip to Manchester United on August 26.
“It is a difficult week of three matches in a row which is never easy, especially at the start of the season, but I think it is fair,” Mourinho added.
“It would not have been fair to play this game one month or two months later. It is logic to play it the start of the season, even though it is difficult for us and Villa.
“We have to play every game against everybody. I am never that bothered about the fixtures and the calendar — when we play home and when we play away — against our rivals.”
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara claims Manchester United never made a serious move to sign him — despite weeks of media speculation linking him with Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old moved to European champions Bayern from Barcelona earlier this month, reuniting him with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola — the man who handed him his professional debut in 2009.
A lack of first-team appearances last year activated a clause in the player’s contract which meant he could leave Barca for a reduced price, but it seems that was not enough to tempt United.
Thiago’s father and agent Mazinho said this week his son had been “very close” to joining United, but the Spain U21 international appeared to contradict that claim last night.
“The truth is that in no moment did United come to us and talk to us. It came from the press, it was always a lie,” he said.
Reflecting on his decision to leave Barcelona, he said: “It’s unfair to say I wasn’t patient. The club knew my situation. I waited for them, especially before the European Championships, but they never contacted me. I didn’t feel valued. I wanted to compete. The club knew that I wanted to leave and they didn’t do much to change that.”
While Thiago says a move to Old Trafford was never an option, United’s pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas rumbles on.
United have had two bids for the Spain international turned down already but United boss David Moyes insists they have not given up hope of landing the former Arsenal man.
Asked about the potential deal as United continue their tour of Japan, Moyes said: “It is ongoing.”
The new United boss also said forward Robin van Persie is likely to feature in today’s friendly against Cerezo Osaka.
Van Persie felt tightness in his thigh in Tuesday’s loss in Yokohama and had to be taken off.
The injury prompted a stinging attack from former Wales coach Raymond Verheijen, who recalling Moyes’ previous claim he had “overtrained” van Persie during United’s week in Australia, said such training regimes were out of Jurassic Park.
But Moyes said: “It was just a precaution. I expect he will play tomorrow.”
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