Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - Page 18 News List

PREMIER LEAGUE: Mourinho ‘calm’ over Rooney bid as Lukaku shines

AFP, JAKARTA

A Chelsea fan poses for a photograph during a friendly between Chelsea and the Indonesia All-Stars at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said he was “calm” over his high-stakes bid for Wayne Rooney after emerging star Romelu Lukaku burnished his growing reputation with another two goals in Jakarta.

Mourinho indicated there had been no new offer for Rooney after Manchester United rejected an initial bid, but he also said Chelsea were sticking by their decision not to target any other players.

“No,” said Mourinho, after Chelsea’s 8-1 hammering of the Indonesia All-Stars late on Thursday, when asked if there had been movement on the transfer situation. “In this moment we have what you know ... that bid that was public and official, and after that nothing else and we are calm, as we told you. We are calm because we are happy with what we have.”

The Portuguese manager has much riding on the Rooney bid, with Chelsea looking at no other players after the signings of Germany forward Andre Schurrle, 22, Netherlands midfielder Marco van Ginkel, 20, and veteran Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, 40.

However, he has also been boosted by the return from loan spells of 22-year-old Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne — currently nursing a knee injury — and powerhouse striker Lukaku, who has bagged four goals on Chelsea’s three-game Asian tour.

Lukaku, who struck the winner from the penalty spot in Bangkok, and was also on target in Kuala Lumpur, added a close-range header and a side-footed finish on Thursday to press his claims for regular first team soccer next season.

Mourinho said erratic, £50 million (US$77 million) Spain international striker Fernando Torres should be pleased to have competition for a starting spot from the imposing Lukaku, even without Rooney in the squad.

“I think Fernando should be happy, because we have competition on the team and I think it’s good for everybody in every position,” Mourinho said. “So Fernando, I think he will be pleased because for some time at Chelsea he was basically the young striker, after that it was Demba Ba, arriving in January ... and now we have three strikers.”

He added that veteran England midfielder Frank Lampard would resume training next week after an Achilles injury as Chelsea head for four more games in the US.

Chelsea won the Premier League twice during Mourinho’s first spell in charge and they are seen as a serious threat to titleholders Manchester United and previous winners Manchester City, who are both blooding new managers.

Mourinho will hope to steal a march on United by racking up a three-point lead before they meet on Aug. 26, after scheduling arrangements handed Chelsea two home games at the start of the season to the champions’ one match, away to Swansea City.

“I’m never too worried with the fixtures, with the calendar, when you play, when you play at home, when you play away, when you play against a rival,” Mourinho said. “I’m not worried about it. We just start against Hull City, we will try to win and after that comes [Aston] Villa, Man United ... match after match and we’ll see what happens.”

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