Diego Costa is back from his three-match suspension and will start for Chelsea today against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
The Brazilian-born striker hasn’t featured for the Blues in three weeks after stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can.
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Manager Jose Mourinho said he is happy to have his leading goal scorer back, but the long layover between matches could mean Costa is a little rusty in Paris today.
He will start but a long rest is not good for him. I don’t think it’s good for a player to be three weeks, or three matches, without starting a game. So I don’t think he’ll be in the best condition.
A little rest is welcome for everyone; a big rest isn’t 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 back to his best.”
Knowing Jose Mourinho, these comments are most likely just mind games, leading PSG to believe they may be facing a weakened Chelsea only to unleash a fresh and fit Costa at Parc des Princes.
Although Costa may not be on top of his game, Mourinho has still promised “a different Chelsea” than the side that lost in Paris 3-1 last season. Despite losing that first match, Chelsea still reached the semifinals after winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and advancing on away goals.
When you have stability you can always improve. Chelsea are a different team. We have some different players, we change a little bit the profile of our game, the identity of our game.
I don’t want to say we are better or not better. I’m saying that we change the profile of our game, so I believe that tomorrow Parc des Princes will see a different Chelsea than last season.”
A key face in that “different Chelsea” is Cesc Fabregas, who is battling illness and may not be fit for the match. If Fabregas can’t go, January signing Juan Cuadrado could get the start, making his first Champions League appearance as a Blue.