Jose Mourinho has some injuries concerns ahead of a big week for his Chelsea squad. The Premier League leaders head to Portugal on Tuesday for a Champions League Group G clash with Sporting Lisbon before playing London rivals Arsenal next weekend.
The concern for Mourinho is who will play up front as Didier Drogba did not travel with the team to Portugal. Diego Costa did travel despite his ongoing hamstring problems which had previously limited his involvement to one game a week.
Costa has scored eight goals in six Premier League games and was only a substitute in Chelsea’s opening 1-1 draw at home to Schalke in the Champions League, a result which indicated the reliance of the Blues on their new star striker.
“Diego starts,” said Mourinho, who was speaking on the eve of the Group G clash at Estadio Jose Alvalade. “There is a risk, yes, but he plays. We assume the risk and he plays. Hopefully everything goes well and hopefully from Tuesday till Sunday he has enough period of time to be back again on track and to play against Arsenal [in the Premier League].
“It’s an important game for us tomorrow, a difficult game and if I can play my best players and the team I think is the best team to try to get the best result, I’m not going to make any change. I don’t rest people. I make decisions. I don’t think about Arsenal — I think about Sporting and I’m going to start with the team that I think is the best team.”
Ramires (groin) was the only other senior player not among the 20-man squad, with the Brazil midfielder likely out of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal.
Midfielder/defender Nathan Ake travelled as part of the group, as did goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney, with Mark Schwarzer ineligible in Champions League competition.