Tuesday 12 November 2019

Jose Mourinho cancels Chelsea press conference as Diego Costa contests FA charge

Chelsea's Diego Costa (L) argues with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (3rd L) during their English League Cup semi-final second leg soccer match at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea's Diego Costa (L) argues with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (3rd L) during their English League Cup semi-final second leg soccer match at Stamford Bridge

Sam Wallace

Jose Mourinho has pulled out of his press conference tomorrow on the advice of the Chelsea hierarchy who do not want their manager to say anything that might compromise Diego Costa’s attempt to contest a three-match Football Association ban for his stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

The Chelsea manager is understood not to have changed his mind from his first assessment that the contact on Tuesday night between Costa and Can – as well as the Martin Skrtel incident for which Costa was not charged – was “absolutely accidental” and would struggle to suppress his opinions of the FA when confronted with similar questions tomorrow at Cobham.

The club are concerned that Mourinho will get himself and the player into further trouble when questioned by broadcast and newspaper journalists and advised him to cancel his regular weekly briefing, a decision which the Chelsea manager was happy to go along with.

Costa’s case will be heard by an independent regulatory commission tomorrow with a decision on his charge for violent conduct due before the end of the day, in order that he knows his fate in time for the Manchester City game on Saturday.

There is no danger of an extra game being added to the regulation ban under the rules on frivolous appeals, but the club is well aware that if the commission upholds the FA charge, the player will miss three games.

There is no scope for an appearance in person from Costa. Instead, the club submitted their reasons as to why they do not agree with the charge in written form by 6pm today. As per FA protocol, the three-man commission, likely to be chaired by a legal professional, is undisclosed, so too the time and location of their meeting. Costa’s case is one of many they will hear from all levels of the professional and amateur game.

The club are also trying to complete a deal for the Fiorentina midfielder Juan Cuadrado, who has a £26.8m buyout clause and whose signing will have to be funded by the sale of either Andre Schurrle of Mohamed Salah. A week ago, Chelsea were hopeful that it would be Salah who could be sold to create the space of Cuadrado but it is looking increasingly likely that it will be Schurrle who leaves.

The German is frustrated at his lack of playing time and has interested Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg, although the £25m asking price from Chelsea is high. The deal for Cuadrado is practically ready to go through and just requires the exit of one of Chelsea’s two fringe players to allow the club to go ahead. A transfer would suit then much better than a loan deal for Schurrle or Salah. There was hope that Cuadrado could be signed in time to play against Manchester City on Saturday but that looks unlikely now.

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