In the end, Jose Mourinho’s decision to bring on Diego Costa at halftime in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Stoke City on Saturday didn’t play out quite how the Portuguese manager would have liked, but he says it was a risk that he had to take as the Blues look to lock up the 2014-15 Premier League title.
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Mourinho says Costa, who has been carrying a hamstring injury which forced the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard to withdraw from the Spanish national team’s most recent squad, went through a rigorous set of tests and workouts to determine whether or not the striker would be available on Saturday, and according to Mourinho, Costa was given the green light by Chelsea’s medical staff.
Speaking in his post-game television interview (above video), Mourinho summed up Costa re-aggravating the injury as, “That’s football.”
I have to risk as a manager, tactically, sometimes when the result is not good.
He did all the scans two days ago, he trained with the team yesterday and today. You can imagine in training we put him in front of repetition and repetition of situations that in the game he doesn’t do so many times. … No way am I upset with my medical department. … It is part of our job to risk. I’m not unhappy with the medical department and I’m not unhappy with the will of the player to be available and to try to help the team.
You can look at Mourinho’s decision to play Costa one of two ways: either, 1) With the Premier League title nearly in the bag, this wasn’t a game which Chelsea absolutely had to win, otherwise the title was gone, so perhaps he didn’t need to risk Costa while in such a comfortable league position; or, 2) Why leave the league title up for grabs any longer than you it needs to be?
At this time of the season, practically every player is playing through some sort of an injury. The biggest difference is the level of attention and scrutiny a star like Diego Costa receives when he’s the one carrying the injury.