Eto'o sidelined for two weeks

  • Last Updated: March 23 2014, 14:20 GMT

Jose Mourinho is optimistic that Samuel Eto'o will return to action within the fortnight to bolster Chelsea's Premier League challenge.

Samuel Eto'o: Hamstring injury
Samuel Eto'o: Hamstring injury

The Cameroon striker suffered a hamstring injury during Chelsea's 6-0 victory over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Eto'o scored his 11th goal of the season against Arsenal before being withdrawn, fearing he had a severe injury.

He will likely miss next weekend's trip to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace but Mourinho is hopeful the striker will return soon.

"Hopefully it's not so big," said Mourinho. "Hopefully it's not a one-month injury, it's 10 to 15 days."

Mourinho was happy with Eto'o's replacement, Fernando Torres, and with David Luiz's display in midfield, a position the manager insisted earlier in the season the Brazil defender would not play.

"Fernando, without scoring a goal, had a very good performance with great movement for the team," Mourinho said.

"I like David in midfield. I like him a lot there."

The victory took Chelsea seven points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal, while Liverpool, who have one game in-hand, are four points adrift in second.

Third-placed Manchester City, Mourinho's title favourites, are six points behind but have three games in-hand, beginning with Tuesday's Manchester derby.

Nemanja Matic and Luiz acted as ball-winning midfielders and the attacking quartet of Eto'o, Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard and Oscar did the early damage as Chelsea, like Manchester City and Liverpool before them, tore the Gunners apart.

"We spoke about Arsenal being the kind of team that when they have possession of the ball and when they start building from the back they are very comfortable," Mourinho told Chelsea TV.

"They have a big culture of ball possession and we were trying to press them there, to recover the ball and to attack spaces.

"We know also that the full-backs, normally they are wide and up, leaving the two central defenders isolated.

"They are not the fastest guys on the pitch and we knew that by recovering the ball and attacking spaces we could score.

"The start was really, really strong. The message with the 2-0 was clear and after, penalty, red card and even worse for them."

Eto'o began the rout and Schurrle added a second after seven minutes, but the goals came after Petr Cech made a fine save from Olivier Giroud.

"The first 10 minutes of the match were magnificent," Mourinho said.

"We smashed them clearly and Petr started that momentum with that save."

A third Chelsea goal came when referee Andre Marriner awarded a penalty for handball and sent off Kieran Gibbs, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the offender.

The case of mistaken identity, for which Marriner has apologised, was irrelevant in terms of the result, though, as Chelsea claimed a second win in three attempts against Arsenal this season.

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll suggested it was not a dismissal at all as Hazard's shot was going wide.

Mourinho, an advocate of television replays for fourth officials, disagreed.

The Portuguese said: "Do you have a new rule? Who knows that is going out?

"You know because you've seen it on television. But from my place I just saw the goalkeeper without a chance and somebody diving and saving, clearly.

"If this is not a red card (then what is?)"


New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30