The Blues manager rejected the notion his team were ever favourites to win the Premier League title this year, following Chelsea's shock 3-2 defeat at Stoke City at the weekend.
In particular, the Portuguese feels the lack of a reliable striking presence is affecting his side, per David Anderson of the Mirror:
If you ask me would I like my strikers to score eight, 10 or 12 goals? Yes.
If we had eight, 10 or 12 goals, we would be top of the league. That’s a reality, but my strikers give everything and the team works hard.
If players are coming now or at the end of the season, probably at the end of the season, yes, because it is more normal, but no, I am not pushing for players now.
Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have struggled to hit any kind of form this season and have just four Premier League goals between them.
|Chelsea Striker Stats 2013/14 Premier League|
|Player||League Appearances||League Goals||Avg. Goals Per Game|
For much of his career, Mourinho has been able to put faith in strong attacking talismen, including Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In those terms, the 2013/14 campaign will have been a steep examination for the manager, despite his best efforts to get the trio scoring again.
Torres has shown signs of improvement, displayed improved enthusiasm and sharpness—particularly against Manchester City—but his goal-scoring touch has not returned.
Against Stoke, Andre Schurrle scored both Chelsea goals as Torres, Ba and Eto'o all failed despite the Blues attempting 15 shots at the home goal, per ESPN FC.
Mourinho also commented that his Chelsea side are currently in a state of development, citing the last few seasons as evidence that the Blues aren't title contenders just yet, per Anderson's report:
Who told you we are the first contender to win the league? I don’t think we are. I think we are one of the six teams that are potential contenders. While other teams are on top of their game and have conditions to say, ‘We are on top of our game in terms of maturity, squad, balance in positions’, I think we are a team playing different than we did in the past.
Remember, that in the past two years, this team finished 25 points behind the winners and finished 14 points behind the winners. We are not speaking with me about my team being champions last year or finishing one or two points behind.
With a win at the Britannia, Chelsea could have moved within two points of league leaders Arsenal this weekend, but the lack of a killer touch in the final third proved crucial.
Mourinho, never one to shy away from a mind game, will understandably be keen to relieve him and his team of the growing pressure on their shoulders.
If what the former Real Madrid boss says is true, January looks like an unlikely time for the club to make any major moves in the transfer market, preferring instead to trust in what's already at his disposal.
However, the more likely truth is that Mourinho still believes Chelsea can win the league, so he has attempted to downplay expectation while warning the strikers to start firing if they want to protect their future.