English Premiership

Costa cleared to play QPR

2014-10-31 16:35
Diego Costa (Supplied)
Diego Costa (Supplied)

Cobham - Jose Mourinho has said on Friday that star striker Diego Costa would return for Premier League leaders Chelsea's all-London clash at home to strugglers Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

"It is good for us," Mourinho told a news conference at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham, south-west of London. "It's difficult when you only have one striker available, but when you have two the situation improves," the Blues' manager added.

But Mourinho said he feared the striker could again suffer injury problems if, as expected, he is called up by Spain for the forthcoming round of international fixtures.

Costa has missed Chelsea's last four matches after returning from international duty with hamstring and groin problems after appearing in all but eight minutes of Spain's back to back fixtures with Slovakia and Luxemburg.

Mourinho made it clear he blamed the way Costa had been handled by his national team for his injuries, insisting the player must be managed carefully while he recovers from a long standing hamstring problem.

With Spain facing another double-header in the middle of November -- they play Belarus in a Euro 2016 qualifier on November 15 before taking on world champions Germany in a friendly two days later -- there is a possibility of the club versus country row being reignited.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque maintains he will remain "stubborn" in his approach to selecting Costa.

And while Mourinho was adamant he will not attempt to resist the player's call-up, he is concerned the demands placed on Costa may affect his fitness when he returns to Stamford Bridge.

"The only thing I can say is what everybody knows. He was having problems in Chelsea and we managed to keep him playing," the Portuguese boss explained.

"But after the national team we lost him for four matches. Crystal Palace, Maribor, Shrewsbury and Manchester United. Four matches in three different competitions.

"Now he's again available, but he needs obviously to be again under special care. We are going to provide that. It's the only thing we can do, nothing else."

And addressing Costa's likely international call-up, Mourinho added: "I am always supportive of players playing for their countries when the players are in condition to do it, and when the players in the national team follow the same procedures to recover from the problems they have.

"I'm nobody to stand in the way of the national team. I cannot stop him going."

With Costa back in the side, Didier Drogba is likely to return to the bench after scoring three goals in his last three games.

The veteran Ivorian forward has led Chelsea's attack in the absence of Costa and Loic Remy, who is expected to be out for a further two weeks with a groin problem.

Mourinho said the 36-year-old Chelsea great had already justified the decision to return to the club two years after he left for Shanghai before returning to west London ahead of the start of this season from Turkish club Galatasaray.

"We made the decision all together: (Chelsea) owner (Roman Abramovich), board, me, him, all of us together," Mourinho explained.

"I think for such a legend in this club, it's a difficult decision to take, and we took it together, us believing in him, him believing in himself and thinking that he still has conditions to be important. Which he was always in this club.

"To be important you don't need, at the age of 36, to play 90 minutes of 50 matches. To be important you need to be there when the team needs you to be there.

"And, obviously, he was fantastic for us in the last week when we were in real trouble without Diego and Remy, doing something that nobody should do: to play two 90 minutes of football with 48 hours difference. He managed to do that in an absolutely fantastic way."

The manager admitted he now faces a selection dilemma, saying: "A fantastic problem for me. The perfect problem is when Remy is back. That's the perfect problem: to have all three."


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