Jose Mourinho has dismissed speculation linking Radamel Falcao with a surprise January exit from Chelsea but insists the Colombian will have to work harder if he wants more game time.
Falcao, 29, moved to Stamford Bridge on a season-long loan determined to prove a point after failing to convince during an identical arrangement with Manchester United.
Mourinho was confident of getting the best out of the former Atletico Madrid striker when he signed him, but the Blues boss has quickly lost faith.
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After being left out of Chelsea's matchday squad for Saturday's win against Aston Villa, Falcao's time in west London seems to be heading down a familiar pathway.
Unwilling to sit on the sidelines as he did under Louis van Gaal, a report in the Mirror claimed Falcao was ready to consider breaking his loan deal at the season's midway point.
Must do better
Speaking ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash against Dynamo Kiev, Mourinho insisted Falcao would not be leaving before his temporary contract expires, but also refused to guarantee him more playing time.
"First of all I don’t know if it’s true. I speak with him every day, it’s quite strange that the press knows something that I don’t, or my club know," Mourinho said.
"He has to give us more than Diego Costa. We normally play with one striker and I always go for the performance level for the position - the best one plays."
For Falcao, his time as a world-class performer appears to have ended when he suffered a serious knee injury whilst playing for Monaco in 2014.
The striker, who earns £140,000-a-week at Chelsea, has inevitably lost more than a yard of pace and has never been given sufficient game time to rediscover his confidence in front of goal.
Only game time will grant him a final chance to get back to the top, but that is the one thing top clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea can ill-afford to give away.