Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says that striker Diego Costa will return up front for Chelsea against Premier League champions Manchester City in a huge match on Sunday.
Costa has made a brilliant start to his Chelsea career, scoring seven times in four Premier League matches already. But the £32 million signing from Atletico Madrid was only a substitute in Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw with Schalke as he his not ready to play more than one game a week, after aggrevating a hamstring problem while on international duty earlier this month.
“Everybody’s ready to play,” Mourinho said. “Diego is not in the best condition, but he will start the game. He plays this game, he cannot play against Bolton. It’s as simple as that. I know clearly that we have to try to protect him until he gets completely fit.”
“In this moment I don’t have this problem,” Mourinho said. “He plays Sunday, doesn’t play against Bolton (in the Capital One Cup next Wednesday). He plays against Aston Villa next Saturday (27 September). In this moment decision made. Let’s see his evolution, let’s hope he comes in the right direction and becomes available to play every game.”
Costa hurt his hamstring late last season for Atleti, and it has to be a concern for Chelsea that five months later he still has not fully recovered.
Even though it is still early in the season, Sunday’s result could have a serious impact on the title race. Chelsea head to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday with a five point lead over City after only four games. If Chelsea were to repeat last season’s 1-0 win there, you would have to wonder if City can overcome an 8 point gap over a team as strong as the Blues.