Forward-thinking Mourinho questions strikers as season fizzles out

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho bemoaned his side's lack of a game-changing striker after their season effectively fizzled out in a 0-0 home Premier League draw to Norwich City on Sunday that typified their inconsistent campaign.

The result left Chelsea in third place with only one game to play, a point behind Manchester City and Liverpool both of whom have two matches left.

Only a week ago, when an under-strength Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield with a gutsy defensive display, Mourinho's side had a chance of winning two major trophies.

But they exited the Champions League on Wednesday after losing a semi-final second leg tie at home to Atletico Madrid and their slim league chances were all but written off with Sunday's failure to beat Norwich.

Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge a year ago after a trophy-laden first stint with the club, has said he will be looking for a new forward during the close-season.

On Sunday, he again voiced his frustrations with the lack of goals from his main strikers Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o.

"Our strikers are good strikers, no doubts about that," Mourinho told reporters. "But ... they are not the kind of players in five square metres, with three or four players around, they can get ball, they can dribble on, they can see the space, they can make the shot.

"So when the team is in a difficult situation they are not able normally to resolve the situation for us," Mourinho said.

Chelsea have the best defensive record in the Premier League having conceded only 26 goals all season. But they have scored nearly 30 goals fewer than both City and Liverpool.

British media reports have linked them with a move for Atletico Madrid's prolific striker Diego Costa in the close-season.

While Chelsea beat both their closest title rivals home and away, their lack of goals contributed to narrow defeats at the hands of struggling sides such as Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Sunderland.

As well as Chelsea's under-performing strikers, there are questions about whether veteran defenders John Terry and Ashley Cole and midfielder Frank Lampard might leave the club. All three will be out of contract at the end of the season.

The trio had their photograph taken together as the players made a lap of honour on the pitch at the end of the last home game of the season.

When asked whether they would play for Chelsea again, Mourinho said: "I think so, I think so. But now, it's time to wait a little bit. The summer is a long summer," adding they would be talking to the club about their futures.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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