Football: Eto'o off mark and set to lead Chelsea's Euro attack

Chelsea's Samuel Eto'o celebrates scoring against Cardiff City during their English Premier League football match at Stamford Bridge in London, Oct 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Chelsea's Samuel Eto'o celebrates scoring against Cardiff City during their English Premier League football match at Stamford Bridge in London, Oct 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Samuel Eto'o is set to lead the Chelsea attack in their Champions League Group E game at Schalke on Tuesday after scoring his first goal for the Stamford Bridge club.

Eto'o, 32, has taken time to adjust to life in England following his August move from Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala.

But the Cameroon striker was handed a starting spot in Saturday's Premier League clash with Cardiff, despite the return to fitness of Fernando Torres, and responded in style.

Eto'o delivered an assist for Eden Hazard's first half equaliser, although it was a controversial moment as he cheekily stole possession away from Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall, who was bouncing the ball in preparation to launch it downfield.

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay was furious with referee Anthony Taylor's failure to rule the goal out for a foul, but Eto'o was unaffected and put Chelsea ahead in the 66th minute as Jose Mourinho's side went on to secure a 4-1 victory.

Mourinho has spoken about the need to give Eto'o time to adapt to his new surroundings and Chelsea assistant coach Steve Holland believes the former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward will go from strength to strength after getting off the mark with an excellent right foot finish.

"It's always difficult when you change clubs and to change countries and leagues increases that," Holland said.

"I'm sure Samuel will feel that, no matter what he has done in his career, and he has scored goals in the top level throughout Europe in all of his career.

"He'll still be feeling happier to have that first one. It's something the staff and players have seen in many days in training. Quality is permanent.

"Physically you can change as your life moves on but quality is permanent and we've seen that finishing in training for a good few weeks now and hopefully it's something we'll see more often in the future.

"I think all strikers like to be scoring goals, it's what makes them tick, and to get off the mark is something he'll be happy about. And hopefully we get the benefit of it immediately."