During his pre-match press conference on Friday, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho revealed that star striker Diego Costa is struggling to face Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Costa, 26, has scored nine goals in his first seven matches for Chelsea in the Premier League but looks likely to sit out the London derby at Selhurst Park in a big blow for the Blues.
Asked about Costa’s fitness following his time away with the Spanish national team last week and his re-occurring hamstring issues, Mourinho had the following to say to reporters.
“The Spanish team played in Luxembourg on Sunday. I gave them Diego, [Cesc] Fabregas and Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] two days off [Monday and Tuesday], so they had to report Wednesday at 3pm. Diego was here Monday at 9am. That shows you how strong he is.”
Mourinho was then asked straight up if Costa was a big doubt for the match vs. Palace and replied: “Yes.” Mind games or an honest answer from the Portuguese manager?
League-leaders Chelsea should be able to handle Palace without Costa, as the likes of Loic Remy and Didier Drogba wait in reserve to lead the line. However there’s no two ways about it, Costa has been the difference this season through the first seven games and looks like the piece of the jigsaw which was missing for Mourinho’s men last season.
Can Remy and Drogba do the business if Costa misses out? Or will Chelsea fall to a second-straight surprise defeat at Crystal Palace?