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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 18, 2006

Mourinho considers making defensive purchase

Jose Mourinho might be tempted into the transfer market next month after admitting he is short of cover in central defence.

With John Terry missing due to a recurring back problem and Khaled Boulahrouz hauled off as the frantic search for a winner began in yesterday's clash with Everton, Chelsea ended up with Didier Drogba playing alongside Ricardo Carvalho at centre-half during the last minutes of the 3-2 win at Goodison Park.

Given Carvalho is not fully fit himself, and is just one booking away from a one-match ban, it is an odd position for Mourinho to be in, and one which has arisen following the decision to let William Gallas join Arsenal in the deadline-day deal which saw Ashley Cole move in the other direction.

With his side now just two points adrift of Manchester United in the championship battle, Mourinho is unlikely to take any risks with his defenders in Wednesday's Carling Cup quarter-final at Newcastle.

And, with a history-making title hat-trick in sight, it appears almost certain the Chelsea coach will delve into Roman Abramovich's seemingly bottomless pit of money once more to reinforce his squad.

'It was a bit risky to face the season with only three central defenders because in the past we always had Carvalho, Gallas, Terry and Robert Huth,' acknowledged Mourinho.

'Because John Terry has not been injured for the past two seasons, we felt the fourth central defender was not playing a lot.

'But this season, John is having a few problems. He was suspended for a couple of games, then he was injured when we played Fulham and again yesterday. It means we are short of a player.'

Mourinho refused to state how long he expected Terry to be sidelined but in any case, he is unlikely to take any risks as the drive for major prizes hots up after the Christmas period.

The Chelsea coach maintains his team are nowhere near their peak at the moment.

However, they have men capable of producing moments of inspired genius, including stand-in skipper Frank Lampard, who blasted home the second equaliser.

The 20-yard strike which flew into the Toffees net nine minutes from time was the 77th goal of Lampard's Chelsea career, meaning he has now eclipsed Dennis Wise as the top midfield scorer in the club's history.

'It was a very special goal,' admitted the 28-year-old. 'To surpass a player of Dennis Wise's stature at the club in the five-and-a-half years I have been here is one of my greatest achievements.

'I have been stuck on 76 for a few weeks now but hopefully I will get the chance to push the record on even further.'

Lampard's feat is even more notable given he has taken 152 fewer games than Wise to break the record, although the former West Ham star does not believe too much should be read into that statistic.

'Dennis was more of a holding midfielder in some of his years here, so I think that is fair enough,' he said.

Lampard was more delighted about the fact his goal provided the platform for Didier Drogba's astounding late winner.

There is barely any disguising the confidence of Jose Mourinho as the Blues look to become only the fifth side in the history of the English game - after Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and United - to win three championships on the trot, although Lampard is adopting a slightly more cautious approach.

'The Christmas period is very important and this is the start of it, so to lose points at this stage would not have been great,' he said.

'But there is still over half the season to go, which is a long way.'

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