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Mourinho headache over Chelsea number one keeper

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Chelsea's new signings Diego Costa (L) celebrates with Cesc Fabregas after scoring a goal during their pre-season friendly match against Olimpija Ljubljana/AFP

Chelsea’s new signings Diego Costa (L) celebrates with Cesc Fabregas after scoring a goal during their pre-season friendly match against Olimpija Ljubljana/AFP

LONDON, Aug 16 – Jose Mourinho knows he faces a tough job keeping both Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea when he finally decides which will be the club’s number one goalkeeper.

On Friday, Mourinho described the pair as two of the best three keepers in the world and revealed he is yet to announce his line-up for the opening Premier League game at newly-promoted Burnley.

Cech, 32-year-old has been the established first choice for the last 10 years but finds himself under pressure from Courtois, 22, who is back at Stamford Bridge after spending the last three years on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Mourinho accepts it will be hard to keep both players happy throughout the campaign and both have been linked with moves away if they miss out on the top job.

The Chelsea manager insists the club has yet to receive an approach for Cech or Courtois but accepts that situation could change.
But he said: “In this moment I don’t want to think about it. There is no offer, so not a possibility. I’m working with them and I told them as a group today, I’m happy with everyone in the squad.

“I’m not waiting for anything. It’s not good to analyse something that isn’t on the table. Every manager in the world would like to have Courtois and Cech.”

Support and stimulate

“You never know if a player has a different reaction or opinion in this last part of the month or if any club tries to do something with our players.”

The manager is pleased, though, to be confronted with the problem of choosing between two top keepers.

He added: “The only thing I can say is at the moment they are working hard and we are so happy to have them. During the season if one is definitely my first choice I have to support and stimulate the other one.

“I can’t have one of these incredible goalkeepers on the bench three or four months waiting for a Capital One Cup game, I have to praise some top goalkeeper which is not my first choice. I can understand for top keepers that could play in every club in the world, here, one of them is going to be on the bench. It’s a difficult situation.”

Mourinho played down his side’s chances of being crowned champions throughout last season following his return to the club.

This time around he is more confident, having recruited Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba and Filipe Luis.

But the manager refused to install Chelsea as favourites, insisting the club’s main challengers have also strengthened well this summer.

He said: “Last season we did not feel as a title contender but we finished very close to the title. We were not feeling one of the top favourites for the Champions League and we played the semi-final. We did well, this season we bought some key players after our analysis of last season.”

“If you expect me to say we’re going to win the Premier League I can’t say that. I have to respect this competition because its one of the country championships the only one which has more than two title contenders.”

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