Chelsea lacked killer instinct, says Mourinho

REUTERS - Chelsea's failure to find the net for the second consecutive Premier League game was down to a lack of killer instinct among their misfiring strikers, manager Jose Mourinho said after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Everton.

The Portuguese bemoaned the lack of a cutting edge after creating numerous scoring chances and dominating possession against Everton, following a goalless draw in their last league outing at Manchester United.

It was the fourth time in five games in all competitions this season that Chelsea's central strikers had drawn a blank, with the goals they have scored coming principally from midfield.

While the west Londoners have found the net on six occasions overall, Fernando Torres's strike in the European Super Cup shootout defeat by Bayern Munich remains the only goal notched by any of their centre forwards.

New signing Samuel Eto'o, brought in from Anzhi Makhachkala at the tail-end of the transfer window, was the latest to play as the lone frontman on Saturday but fared no better than his predecessors, fluffing several chances.

The Cameroon striker headed a cross from Ramires over the bar after five minutes, had an effort in front of an open goal blocked by Gareth Barry and then scuffed a shot wide at the start of the second half in a profligate display.

Eto'o was not to blame for the defeat, Mourinho said before adding the team's display highlighted a missing characteristic.

"I don't think it is a question of sharpness but perhaps no killer instinct in this game," the manager told reporters.

"In the second half a Branislav Ivanovic cross and Eto'o at the first post, he has scored 100 of these goals in his career. Samuel was a killer (in front of goal) all his career."

RUSSIAN COLD

Mourinho's decision to bring Eto'o in from the Russian cold and then thrust him straight into the limelight suggests he hopes he can become the trusted lieutenant he had in Didier Drogba in his first stint at the club.

The Cameroonian was part of his Champions League-winning side at Inter Milan in 2010 but is now 32 and coming towards the end of a centre forward's normal shelf life.

Chelsea made a much-publicised attempt to lure Manchester United's Wayne Rooney to the club in the close season and may be tempted to renew their efforts in January should the Eto'o experiment prove fruitless.

After starting only two of their five competitive games, it seems Mourinho is unconvinced Torres can return to the goalscoring form that persuaded Chelsea to pay Liverpool 50 million pounds for him in 2011.

Torres's Spain team mate Juan Mata is another who seems to be out of favour with the Portuguese.

Mata was hauled off after 57 minutes, having made only his second start of the season, although Mourinho was adamant the decision was a simple tactical switch.

"I took Mata off, I tried Oscar - the same position but a different player as Mata is more a passer, Oscar more individual creation and maybe he should have had a penalty," the Portuguese said.

Mourinho's counterpart at Everton, Roberto Martinez, celebrated a first win of the season after beginning his time at the club with three straight draws.

"It wasn't the perfect performance from our point of view but we showed character and all the attributes needed to be a winning side," said the Spaniard who left Wigan Athletic in the close season to replace David Moyes.

"We gave away two or three chances from not keeping the ball well enough but the way we reacted, took responsibility and defended was immense.

"Throughout the game I thought we always carried a threat. Chelsea are a team well recognised for their defensive strength but I thought we were unfortunate not to score more than one goal," said Martinez.

"It was one of those performances as a manager where you couldn't be prouder."

(Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

Bangalore hold Mumbai back to a paltry 115 after electing to field. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »