Premier League: Mourinho: Striker-less system not to blame

Julian Harris
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CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho last night insisted he was right to field a starting XI without a recognised centre-forward, despite watching his side struggle to create chances during a drab 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

David Moyes’ first competitive game at Old Trafford as Manchester United boss rarely looked like ending in defeat, although the home side also struggled to break Chelsea down and chisel out clear opportunities.

“Yes, I think [my tactics were correct]. Playing with [Andre] Schurrle, or playing with Fernando [Torres] – this didn’t change a lot,” Mourinho said.

“For me we didn’t create more not because of the system, but because we lost so many easy passes. I go to watch this on video and for sure I will find six, seven, eight easy passes to go for counter attack where these players could and should do more – and it was because of that.”

The west Londoners started with attacking midfielder Schurrle up front, and although Torres was introduced on the hour mark the Blues failed to register a shot on target thereafter.

The first half was scant of attacking excitement, with Robin van Persie hitting the side net after Oscar had managed an early snap-shot at United’s goal.

Shortly before half-time the most promising move of the opening period nearly resulted in Wayne Rooney slipping Van Persie in behind the Chelsea defence, but his pass was smothered by an out-rushing Petr Cech.

Ten minutes after the break Danny Welbeck squandered the best chance of the game, jabbing the ball over from a central area inside the penalty box to the disappointment of the home crowd.

Centre-back Gary Cahill then belted a fierce strike from distance, but David de Gea gathered comfortably. That turned out to be Chelsea’s final effort on goal, yet they held on for a point despite United appealing for penalties when late shots struck Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel in the box. The clean sheet marked the 200th of Cech’s Chelsea career.