LONDON: More than ever now Jose Mourinho may be regretting Chelsea’s failure to act earlier and more decisively last summer when there was a chance of luring Wayne Rooney away from Manchester United.
Chelsea sit third in the Premier League and are into the knockout stage of the Champions League with a decent chance of progress against old hero Didier Drogba’s Galatasaray.
But the League Cup is beyond them after Tuesday’s 2-1 quarter-final defeat away to a Sunderland side fearful of relegation. Mourinho blamed missed chances, not for the first time this season.
Lee Cattermole’s own goal – Sunderland’s sixth in 11 games – looked enough to send Chelsea into the semi-finals until substitute Fabio Borini struck two minutes from the end of normal time. Ki Sung-yueng, on loan from Swansea, then beat keeper Mark Schwarzer again two minutes from the end of extra time.
The South Korean thus ended Mourinho’s hopes of reclaiming what his first trophy during his original spell at Chelsea. He fumed: “Every game we have lost it’s the same story: chances and chances, football and football, and not enough goals.
“We are going in the right direction in terms of the quality we want to play but football is about other things as well.”
Chelsea’s strikers have managed six goals between them this season in domestic competitions: Demba Ba one, Samuel Eto’o two and Fernando Torres three. Rooney, now happy again at Manchester United and playing the best football of his career, has scored eight.
Manchester City reached the semi-finals by winning 3-1 at Leicester City with goals from Edin Dzeko (two) and Alexandr Kolarov.
Dzeko was the persistent subject of transfer speculation. Now, for all Manchester City wealth of attacking talent, he is a key man.
City total 75 goals in 25 matches in all competitions this season and Dzeko, with nine goals overall, ranks fourth behind only Sergio Aguero (19) and Alvaro Negredo (12) and Yaya Toure (10). He will have the chance for more goals over the holiday now that Aguero is out for at least a month with a muscle strain.