Sport Champions League

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mourinho fears Costa will not be up to speed for PSG test

Sam Wallace

Jose Mourinho fears that Chelsea will not see the best of Diego Costa against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League tonight because the striker has lost his edge over his three-game ban for stamping on Martin Skrtel.

The Chelsea manager confirmed that Costa will start the first leg, round of 16 game against the French champions but expressed concern that such a long lay-off from first-team football - 21 days in all - would affect his form.

Mourinho said: "A long rest is not good for him. I don't think it's good for him or any player. A little rest is welcome for everyone, a big rest doesn't make good for the players. So we are not going to see the best Diego. I hope I'm wrong, but probably he will need this game to try to get it.

"We organised a game three or four days ago with the kids for him to compete. We tried to replicate competition for him, but it's different. But I know his hunger to play, a big appetite to play and Champions League scenario is a scenario every player enjoys."

While PSG have considerable injury concerns, having lost four key players in their draw with Caen on Saturday, Mourinho also has worries over Cesc Fabregas, who has been ill. Oscar and Willian are also not completely fit. However, both should be ready and the only player definitively out is John Obi Mikel.

Mourinho said he was yet to decide which of his two goalkeepers would play in the game, with Petr Cech having started the Premier League victory over Everton last Wednesday.

"He (Thibaut Courtois) doesn't know if he plays or not, so I can't tell you," Mourinho said. "He has to know from me, not from the media. But I repeat: Chelsea have the two best goalkeepers in the Premier League. For me, it is an easy job.

"I'm very happy with both. Every time one plays, the team are very confident because they know that, behind, they have a top goalkeeper."

Kurt Zouma has displaced Gary Cahill to play in central defence alongside captain John Terry of late. The France defender has made good progress since moving to Chelsea from St Etienne, insisted he is learning a lot playing alongside the Englishmen and played down comparisons with former Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly.

Zouma said: "I'm very proud of playing with two of the best defenders in the world.

"I have to wait for my new chance every time when I am on the bench and when I'm on the pitch I have to show what I can do.

"For me Marcel Desailly is Marcel Desailly. He was a very, very big defender. I'm too young to say I'm like Marcel Desailly. It's too early. I have to keep working all the time." (© Independent News Service)

Independent News Service

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport