Chelsea lifted by Cole return and strikers' form

REUTERS - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is delighted his strikers have started finding the net just in time to face fellow title challengers Manchester City, who have the Premier League's best goal-scoring record.

Samuel Eto'o scored his first goal for the club last weekend, also the first goal by one of their recognised strikers in the league this season, while fellow forward Fernando Torres hit two in Tuesday's 3-0 win at Schalke in the Champions League.

"It was a positive week for Torres and Eto'o because they scored goals and that is what gives them the greatest happiness," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday.

Chelsea's 14 league goals have come from a variety of sources with Oscar grabbing four and another attacking midfielder, Eden Hazard, scoring three.

"I'm happy with all of the strikers. They were not scoring goals but they were working really hard. They were doing a good job for the team and for their team mates," Mourinho said.

"There are different ways of contributing for the team than just scoring goals, and all three always did that."

It is a different story at City, where more than half of their 20 league goals have come from their strikers with Sergio Aguero leading the way with six.

Chelsea are second in the standings with 17 points from eight matches, two behind leaders Arsenal and level on points with third-placed Liverpool.

City are a point behind them in fourth but Mourinho avoided giving to much significance in terms of the title race to Sunday's encounter with them at Stamford Bridge (1600 GMT).

"We have tests every week," he said. "It's a big team, a very good team but every game in the Premier League is a test."

His opposite number Manuel Pellegrini was similarly keen to play down the fixture so early in the season.

"Of course it's an important moment, it's always important playing against a team that has a lot of chance to win the league," the Chilean told a news conference.

"But this is our ninth game and we have a lot of games in the future. It is an important game, but it will not decide anything."

Mourinho is boosted by the availability of defender Ashley Cole after the England left back missed their last two matches with a rib injury.

The Portuguese was quoted on the club website ( as saying the only player unavailable for action this weekend was long-term absentee Marco van Ginkel who is recovering from cruciate ligament surgery.

City, however, did not have good news on the injury front with captain and centre back Vincent Kompany still sidelined with a thigh injury sustained in the 3-1 win over Everton on October 5.

(Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing John Mehaffey)


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