Premier League

Mourinho happy with Chelsea side

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Thu, 25 Jul 2013 18:46:00

Roma have signed veteran goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis from Napoli on a two-year contract.

The 36-year-old former Italy international spent four seasons with the Azzurri but, with Liverpool keeper Jose Reina arriving in Naples to spend a season on loan with the Serie A runners-up, De Sanctis makes Roma the seventh club of his career.

A statement on the capital club's official website also confirmed a payment of 500,000 euros for De Sanctis' services to Napoli, who are expected to confirm Reina as their new number one imminently.

After leaving Napoli's Dimaro training camp to fly to Rome's Fiumicino airport today, De Sanctis told La Repubblica Sport: "It's all agreed. I'm here to work hard and to have a great season."

The former Udinese and Sevilla keeper replaces Maarten Stekelenburg in the Giallorossi goal following the Dutchman's departure for Fulham last month.

The £50million man was not involved in his club's pre-season tour of Asia, having been excused due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup with Spain earlier in the summer, but he will return for next week's USA leg.

In Torres' absence, Romelu Lukaku, who was on loan at West Bromwich Albion last season, has been scoring goals, including two in Thursday's 8-1 thrashing of Indonesia All Stars, and impressing.

But having returned to Chelsea this summer, Mourinho wants Torres to rise to the challenge of competing for a place with Lukaku and Demba Ba.

"I think Torres should be happy, because we have competition in the team in every position and that is good for everybody," Mourinho told Chelsea's official website.

"Sometimes Torres has been the only striker and then Demba Ba came in January, and now we have three strikers and that is good for the team."

The veteran midfielder was not involved in Thursday's thrashing of Indonesia All Stars and had earlier in pre-season been struggling with an Achilles injury.

But Lampard, along with fellow absentees Andre Schurrle and Kevin de Bruyne, who has been given the all clear after scans on his knee problem having returned to England at the beginning of this week, will return to training.

The news is a boost for Chelsea as they flew back to London from their tour of the Far East shortly after the 8-1 win over the All Stars ahead of the USA leg of their pre-season.

"Lampard is okay to train Monday, so Monday he will join the group," Mourinho told Chelsea's official website.

"We protect every little situation and today we protected Schurrle, we sent De Bruyne home but Lampard preferred to stay and have treatment here with the group."

David Luiz, Oscar, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and John Obi Mikel, who were excused from the Asia tour following the Confederations Cup, will also rejoin Chelsea for their USA leg.

And Mourinho will also hope for more of the same from captain John Terry after he continued an excellent pre-season with a goal in the demolition of the All Stars.

"Terry played well and trained very well and never missed one minute of any training session, and that is very important, because we trained very hard for 15 days and some of the days for two sessions," said the Chelsea boss.

"Every 45 minutes he played, he played well and I am very happy with him."

Chelsea began the journey home after the comprehensive rout - during which Romelu Lukaku scored twice to take his tour tally to four - with no developments on their pursuit of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, for whom they had a bid rejected last week.

"At this moment we have made what you know; that bid which was public and official and after that nothing else," Mourinho said.

"But we are calm as we told you that we are calm because we are happy with what we have."

Mourinho was without six senior players for the tour to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta who will join up with him for the first time in the next few days.

Spain trio Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta, Nigeria's John Obi Mikel and Brazil duo David Luiz and Oscar had a break following the Confederations Cup and will now join the squad for four matches in the United States.

With Lukaku's goals, plus one for Demba Ba and the pursuit of Rooney, Mourinho was asked if Torres' position is under threat.

The Portuguese added: "I think Fernando should be happy because we have competition in the team and I think that is good for everybody in every position.

"Fernando I think will be pleased because during his time at Chelsea he was basically the only striker and then after that there was the arrival of Ba in January.

"Now the team has three strikers and I think that is good."

Frank Lampard will resume training in earnest, having toured Asia without kicking a ball against hostile opposition due to an Achilles problem.

Andre Schurrle missed tonight's game with a knock and Kevin de Bruyne returned to London following last Sunday's Malaysia match due to a knee problem, but both will train with the squad next week, too.

"We protect every little situation," Mourinho said.

"Today we protected Schurrle. De Bruyne went home. Lampard did not want to go home so he stayed with the group.

"There is nothing big. On Monday we are waiting for them, they should all be training with the team plus the six guys who will arrive."

Captain John Terry struggled for full fitness for periods of last season, but started all three games in Asia.

Mourinho added: "He played well and trained very well and never missed one minute of any training session.

"That is very important because he is a very important player for us. I am very happy with him."

It was confirmed today that Chelsea's Barclays Premier League match at home to Aston Villa has been brought forward to August 21 due to the Londoners' involvement in the UEFA Super Cup.

It means the Blues, whose season begins at home to Hull on August 18, play two games in four days at the start of the campaign and could get a head start in the title race ahead of a trip to Manchester United on August 26.

"It is a difficult week of three matches in a row which is never easy, especially at the start of the season, but I think it is fair," Mourinho added.

"It would not have been fair to play this game one month or two months later. It is logic to play it the start of the season, even though it is difficult for us and Villa.

"We have to play every game against everybody . I am never that bothered about the fixtures and the calendar - when we play home and when we play away - against our rivals.

"We will try to win against Hull and then against Villa and then take things match by match."

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