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Friday April 4, 2014 MYT 9:17:01 PM
Friday April 4, 2014 MYT 9:18:08 PM
by steve tongue
LONDON (Reuters) - Fernando Torres, Chelsea's misfiring 50 million pound forward, has a future at the club, manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday - two days after suggesting his squad lacked "real strikers".
On Wednesday Mourinho started the Champions League quarter-final away to Paris St Germain with the German midfielder Andre Schurrle in attack, ignoring strikers Torres and Demba Ba.
After the 3-1 defeat that puts Chelsea's qualification in doubt ahead of Tuesday's second leg, he said: "I'm not happy with my strikers' performances so I have to try things."
That led to reports in British media that Torres, Ba, Samuel Eto'o (who is currently injured) and Romelu Lukaku (on loan at Everton) could all be sold in the next transfer window.
But speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday's Premier League game at home to Stoke City, Mourinho said of Torres: "Yes, he has a future, if he wants it to happen. He has a contract and he's a good professional, who brings positive things to the team.
"Obviously we want him to score more goals and he wants to score more goals. During his period with the club he had (good) moments, but long periods of performing some days in, some days out."
Torres has scored nine goals in 33 appearances this season, and none in his last six.
His form at Chelsea since breaking the British record transfer fee in 2011 has never approached the heights of his time at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.
But Mourinho defended his attitude and work-rate on Friday.
"He tries to do his best. He's a good professional in training and in his social life. He's the kind of player I respect," he said.
Despite scoring only 62 goals in the League, compared to Liverpool's 88 and Manchester City's 80, Chelsea are only two points behind Liverpool, who overtook them at the top last weekend.
Mourinho continues to insist the other two clubs are favourites to finish above his team, citing Liverpool's lack of involvement in European competition and City's two games in hand.
Looking further ahead, he said Chelsea could afford to sign at least one top striker for up to 40 million pounds ($66.35 million) in the next transfer window without selling leading players in order to comply with UEFA' Financial Fair Play rules.
"We're not going to do it by selling our best players," he said. "I keep saying Chelsea are in the process of rebuilding a new team. Part of the evolution is bringing a couple of players in. It's not selling ten and buying ten."
England full-back Ashley Cole is available for the game against Stoke but midfielder Ramires must serve the final match of a domestic suspension. ($1 = 0.6029 British Pounds)
(Editing by Martyn Herman) nL5N0MW2UA
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