Buy a top striker, Jose

UNITIED STATES - Chelsea's shock loss to Sunderland in the League Cup yesterday morning (Singapore time) has yet again exposed the chink in Jose Mourinho's armour.

The man with an answer for almost anything, for once, couldn't find an explanation for the 2-1 extra-time defeat.

The Chelsea of old, the one he led in his first stint, was all about ruthlessness and efficiency.

This current cohort was profligate to the extent of incompetence.

At the Stadium of Light, the Blues fashioned 22 goal attempts, and yet required an own-goal by Lee Cattermole to go ahead.

Sunderland struck twice through 16 chances - via Fabio Borini (88th) and Ki Sung Yueng (118th) - to oust the visitors and book their spot in the semi-finals.

Mourinho's choice of weapon on the day was Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o, once feared everywhere but now a pale shadow of his former self.

One moment of wastefulness summed up his lack of match sharpness.

Within minutes of his team taking the lead early in the second half, Eto'o could have killed off the tie. But when left with just Vito Mannone to beat, he drove his shot wide of the post.

Mourinho had earlier pointed out that the 32-year-old needs time to rediscover his mojo, after two years of Russian league football gnawed at his competitiveness.

With almost half the season gone, he is still holding out hope of a resurgence from the veteran forward. But this was neither a tactical mistake nor poor usage of personnel on the Portuguese's part.

Ask around, and most will agree that he could have used anyone to spearhead the attack and the outcome wouldn't have been any different.

It should be clear by now that Spaniard Fernando Torres, 29, will never be as good the striker he was at Liverpool.

Demba Ba, 28, snapped up from Newcastle on the back of 29 league goals in one-and-a-half seasons, is also proving to be a mistake.

He has the power and physique, but doesn't have the stealth and finesse to match.

Between the three strikers, they have mustered only 13 goals in all competitions this season.

Mourinho, though, is not in a situation as dire as it is made out to be, they are merely two points away from Premiership leaders Arsenal, whom they will overtake if they beat them at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.

Unlike Arsenal and Manchester City, the Blues have avoided a nightmarish draw in the Champions League Round of 16, where Galatasaray are their next opponents.

Their participation in the domestic cups is also by no means over, with the FA Cup still to play for.

But to stand a proper chance of silverware, Mourinho needs firepower up front.

The solution doesn't exist in the current squad.

It will come next month when the transfer window reopens.

Signing a top striker must be Mourinho's priority.

WISH LIST: 1 Radamel Falcao Mourinho will be monitoring the situation of Falcao very closely after he was reported to have fallen out with Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri. Chelsea will have to dig deep into their coffers to stand a chance of landing the Colombian though - he is likely to cost in excess of £50 million ($103m).

2 Robert Lewandowski Chelsea are just one of many clubs chasing Lewandowski's signature. Although widely expected to confirm a move to Bayern Munich, the vultures are still circling, with some believing that Borussia Dortmund are reluctant to sell the Pole to their Bundesliga rivals.

3 Wayne Rooney The man who came so close to joining the Blues will definitely pop up on their radar again, especially since the English forward has only 18 months left on his current Man United deal.

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