Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/19/13
Questions about Wayne Rooney’s name are strictly off-limits with Jose Mourinho at the moment, but when the Manchester United striker is mentioned yesterday, he can at least see the funny side of it. “Forbidden word!” he shouts, in mock horror at the offending reporter, “go to the wall and turn your back for two minutes!” There can be no answers about Rooney, but what cannot be avoided is what the Rooney situation says about the man he would potentially replace at Chelsea – indeed, the man who was the last marquee-name centre-forward. That is Fernando Torres whose mystifying slump has been a problem at Chelsea for some time. Now it is Mourinho’s problem too. At the team’s hotel on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Mourinho gave his first extensive interview since his arrival at Chelsea and with the benefit of having worked with his squad for two weeks, albeit not yet Torres. He is in a better position now to discuss the squad’s strengths, and what he believes the future is for the likes of John Terry and David Luiz as well as his own status among the new group of Premier League managers. As for Torres, the first thing that Mourinho has done is to accept the player’s limitations and try to work with the best of him “Fernando is a striker, nobody has doubts about it, but I think he's a striker more comfortable when he has space behind defenders,” Mourinho says. “He has it more difficult when opponents are very close, when opponents are compact and when he has to play in small spaces. “He's more a player to go into a space than to play with the ball at his feet. That's something easy to understand about Fernando, so I will try to do my best.” What can be done? Mourinho says that Romelu Lukaku, for instance, has “much more scope to be worked on, than an end product like Fernando at 29”. Asked whether Torres, who scored eight league goals last season in a total of 23, could be the player he once was again, Mourinho was open-minded.
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