Tuesday 23 January 2018

Costa joins Chelsea's 'team of Zorros'

Diego Costa (PA Wire)
Diego Costa (PA Wire)

Matt Law

Diego Costa was forced to make a dash to Milan to be fitted for a 'Zorro' mask after having his nose accidentally broken by Chelsea Academy teenager Fikayo Tomori.

The striker clashed with Canadian 18-year-old Tomori in training on Thursday afternoon while challenging for an aerial ball and, uncharacteristically, ended up worse off.

After visiting hospital, Costa had to fly to Milan to have a protective mask fitted that should allow him to face Newcastle United today.

Chelsea are used to having protective masks fitted for their players, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Nemanja Matic, Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas wearing them recently, but Costa's had to be cast and made in double-quick time.

The Spain international, who has scored seven goals in his last nine games, was due to return to England yesterday to have an afternoon training session with the mask on in preparation for the Newcastle match.

Interim manager Guus Hiddink is already without Radamel Falcao and on-loan Alexandre Pato, while Loic Remy has been missing with a calf injury, so he cannot afford to lose Costa as well.

Although Hiddink did not reveal the identity of the player involved in the clash with Costa, Chelsea later confirmed it was Tomori.

Speaking yesterday, Hiddink said: "Yesterday, in training, Diego got in a duel and had his nose broken. It was one of the youngsters of the academy, who we like to participate.

"It was not a tough duel, but he put his nose on the back of the kid's head. He was very unlucky and his nose was broken. He will return today.

"They'll try and give him a mask as well - we are a team with a lot of masks.

"A Zorro team - Azpi, Matic, now Diego. He will come back and do some light training in the afternoon because he must experience how he deals with the mask. Then he will join us in the hotel later on.

"It was just a small incident, just a duel. But it's very fragile when you hit your nose on the back of the head of a firm young man. I think Diego will be available. We'll see how he reacts this afternoon in a very light session, but I hope - I'm not sure - that he will be available."

With central defender Kurt Zouma ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage, Hiddink revealed that 18-year-old Jake Clarke-Salter had been called up to the first-team squad to help provide cover.

The subject of a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho, whom Hiddink replaced on a caretaker basis in December, was something the Dutchman did not wish to broach when asked yesterday. "It's up to the board and to the management," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Chelsea v Newcastle, live, Sky Sports 1, 5.30pm


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