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Tactics & Analysis

Eto'o shrugs off Mourinho comments

Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o said it will take more than manager Jose Mourinho's comments about his age to put him off his game.

Mourinho brought Eto'o to Chelsea after the striker helped him win the Treble at Inter.
Mourinho brought Eto'o to Chelsea after the striker helped him win the Treble at Inter.

Rothwell: Mourinho vs. Mancini
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Eto'o, 32, was reportedly angered by suggestions Mourinho made in an interview with Canal Plus that the Cameroon international may be somewhat older than officially stated, while also appearing to question the qualities of his other strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.

The French broadcaster did not transmit the footage along with their main interview with the Portuguese coach but later published it online on Monday, only to remove it later that same day.

While Canal Plus was waiting for an interview with Mourinho last week in Nyon, Switzerland, it filmed him talking with a Swiss businessman at a sponsor event. Broadcast on Monday, when Chelsea were heading to Istanbul to play Galatasaray in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, the clip shows Mourinho saying: "The problem with Chelsea is we lack a striker. I have one [Eto'o] but he's 32. Maybe 35, who knows?"

Mourinho then hit back, branding Canal Plus' actions "a disgrace."

Eto'o -- who had previously played under Mourinho at Inter Milan, where they won the Champions League together in 2010 -- is Chelsea's top-scoring striker in the Premier League this season with six goals. However, half of those came in January's 3-1 win over Manchester United. Torres, who scored the opener against Galatasaray, has four in the league this term, while Ba has just one league strike to his name. Top-scorer Eden Hazard has 12 to date in the league since Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge last summer.

After coming off the bench for the last 22 minutes of Wednesday's 1-1 draw at the Turk Telekom Arena, Eto'o was in high spirits when asked about the furore by beIN SPORTS.

"It takes more to worry me, I'm Samuel Eto'o," he said. "Fortunately I can still score goals at 35-36 years. At 36 or 37, I still score goals against Manchester United. I came to the club thanks to Jose, but that doesn't change anything.

"Certain things happen in life, you have to face them. I'm not going to cause problems in the dressing room. And I'm not so young any more, there are statements that I can no longer make."

Eto'o's teammate and fellow striker Ba added to Sky Sports after the match: "I am feeling good. The relationship is OK -- there is nothing exciting to tell you. I just keep smiling, keep fighting, keep training well and things will come.

"That's probably the way [Mourinho] thinks; I have my way to think as well and -- nothing special -- I don't have an issue with anyone."


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