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Chelsea's form making selection tough for Mourinho

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho reacts after their English League Cup fourth round soccer match against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in Londo
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho reacts after their English League Cup fourth round soccer match against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in Londo

LONDON (Reuters) - After a sticky start following his return to Chelsea, life suddenly looks pretty good for Jose Mourinho with his side breathing down the necks of Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Chelsea can go top for a few hours at least with victory at Newcastle United on Saturday, having reached the League Cup quarter-finals in midweek with a 2-0 victory at Arsenal.

With 13 points from the last 15 available, striker Fernando Torres looking rejuvenated, options all across the pitch and an empty treatment room, Chelsea are clearly hitting their stride.

Yet, the form of his squad is causing Mourinho a few headaches, especially when it comes to deciding which players must be consigned to the substitutes' bench or the stands.

"It's not easy for me to leave players at home and on the bench because everybody deserves to play," said Mourinho, who was given a reminder of Juan Mata's quality in midweek when the Spaniard, who has not always started this season, dazzled at Arsenal.

"I'm unfair with the players I am not selecting because they are doing everything to play," Mourinho told a news conference.

"It's a difficult feeling for me. All of my players have a collective soul at the moment. That's the most important thing."

Mourinho has a full squad to choose from on Saturday for a fixture that has not always been kind to him.

"We have one of the most difficult matches of the whole season at St James' Park but we want to try and keep winning," Mourinho, whose only victory there was in the 2006 League Cup, told a news conference.

"October was magnificent for us but to be top or not to be top is a question in this moment of one point, two points and that is not very important.

"Of course it's better to be first than be fifth, that's obvious but no problem for us."

Torres embodies the improvement in Chelsea and his performance against Manchester City last weekend, when he scored a late winner having set up the first goal, was arguably his best since joining in a 50 million pounds ($80.3 million) deal from Liverpool in 2011.

"I feel he's just giving his best every game," Mourinho said.

"When he's the man of the match against Manchester City or when he's not the man of the match, or when he's on the bench and he comes on, I just feel he gives his best, always, and that's the most important thing.

"I don't like this history of one day the player is a disaster, the next day the player is phenomenal. I don't think Fernando is a kid to be influenced by these wins, so I want him to be stable, I want him not to be too much worried about proving himself, or not to prove, or scoring or not scoring."

($1 = 0.6224 British pounds)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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