Blues boss says Eto’o needs time to adapt.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admits that Samuel Eto’o’s fitness and motivation levels may have dropped after a spell in Russian football with Anzhi Makhachkala, according to Sky Sports.
The 32-year-old Cameroon international joined the Blues this summer on a short-term deal, but was something of a surprise signing after the club had prioritised Wayne Rooney as their main transfer target upfront.
Although once regarded as one of the best strikers in the world during his time with Barcelona and Inter Milan, where he played under Mourinho as they celebrated a treble together in 2010, Eto’o now looks somewhat past his peak and has struggled to make an impact so far at Chelsea.
Attracted by the big money on offer in Russia, Eto’o became one of several big-name signings for Anzhi, but the Russian league remains a lower standard of competition and Mourinho has suggested that this is now showing as Eto’o fails to find his best form in a more competitive league again.
However, the Portuguese coach is confident that his new signing can work on his game and adapt, and become a success for the club this season.
“The player I know, the professional I know…what happened in Russia in the last two-and-a-half years I didn’t know,” he said.
“Normally when a top player is one of the top players in Europe and then goes to Anzhi the pressure goes down, the motivation and physical condition and sharpness goes down.
“Now he’s back in top European football and needs a bit of time to find that sharpness. He’s playing a lot. He played 80 minutes this week and he is getting his form and an understanding of where he is.
“But the Premier League is a different picture. So give him a little bit of time.”