Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, has confirmed Diego Costa will start against Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League match on Tuesday evening, but says he is yet to confirm which goalkeeper will play, CHANNELS reports.
The forward has missed the last three domestic games through suspension but will lead the line for Chelsea’s Champions League first knockout round first leg game, away to a side they eliminated at the quarter-final stage last season.
“Yes, I start him. But I don’t think it’s good for a player to be three weeks, or three matches, without starting a game,” Mourinho said.
“So I don’t think he’s in the best of his condition. But, at the same time, [Loic] Remy and [Didier] Drogba have played in the last three matches. Obviously it is important for them to have minutes and confidence. I know that I have them both ready for the game, too,” the coach said on Chelsea website.
Mourinho was then asked whether Thibaut Courtois would return in goal following Petr Cech’s heroics against Everton last Wednesday. The manager preferred to keep his cards close to his chest rather than disclose more of his line-up, explaining he was yet to inform the players.
“He doesn’t know if he plays or not, so I can’t tell you. He has to know from me, not from the media,” Mourinho said, before adding that irrespective of whoever plays he has the utmost confidence in them.
“I repeat, Chelsea have the two best goalkeepers in the Premier League. For me, easy job. Easy job. I’m very happy with both. Every time one plays, the team are very confident because they know that, behind, they have a top goalkeeper.”
It was inevitable Mourinho would face questions on the opposition, especially with his former defender, David Luiz now at the Parc des Princes.
“David was my player, no problem at all and I was happy to coach him,” said the Portuguese, before commenting more generally on the PSG side and last season’s tie.
“We beat them but we lost in Paris,” he said.
“A knockout competition was decided in the last minute, a small detail making the difference. I’m not saying we won because we were better than Paris. We won because, in this case, we scored a goal away and didn’t concede at home.
“I think Paris are a great team, basically the same team as last season with David Luiz. The same team basically, the same coach, the same dynamic, the same profile.
“They have conditions to be better because they have stability. We have changed a bit some players and the identity of our game. We have changed the profile. I don’t want to say if Chelsea are better or worse than last season but, tomorrow, Parc des Princes will see a different Chelsea to last year,” he assured.
Mourinho also refused to acknowledge any potential advantage in having had a free weekend due to Chelsea’s FA Cup elimination, citing a busy Christmas schedule for the Blues as an important leveller.
“It’s never a blessing to be knocked out of any competition,” he said. “It’s always a problem and never a solution. We were not happy to be knocked out the competition. The last person you should speak to about the accumulation of matches is with a manager from an English club.
“About fatigue. England is a special place. When the French players were on holidays in Christmas, we were playing five matches in 10 days so don’t speak with us about accumulation of matches and fatigue.
“The Champions League is a motivation for every team. We welcome the Champions League,” Mourinho said. “Two big matches against a big opponent. Everyone is happy to play.”
Only confirmed so far is Diego Costa, while John Mikel Obi has not travelled due to injury. Otherwise the manager has everybody available to him as Chelsea fans look to secure a first-leg advantage.