Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed that key striker Diego Costa is not yet ready to start more than one match a week, following the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Schalke 04 in their UEFA Champions’ League Group G opener.
Costa has scored seven goals in just four English Premier League matches in the new season after joining the Stamford Bridge outift from Atletico Madrid for £32 million in the summer, but was only available as a substitute when Chelsea played at the Veltins-Arena on Wednesday night.
The Spain international limped out of last season’s Champions’ League final against Real Madrid while playing for Atletico Madrid with a hamsting problem, and the injury recurred while on international duty earlier this month.
“Costa has a problem,” Mourinho said.
“He came to us (from Atletico Madrid) and he was completely fine. He had a problem again in the national team, not with us.”
“If he has one week to let the muscle recover he can start a game. Playing on Saturday, three days is not enough for him to recover.”
“It was not to protect for the game Sunday, it was because he was not in condition to start the game. Now we have the problem and now we have to resolve the problem the best we can.”
“He was not in condition to play. Sunday we believe he is. Next week against Bolton (in the Capital One Cup), for sure he isn’t. We have to manage the situation until the moment he’s completely fine.”
Chelsea beat Schalke 3-0 twice in Europe’s elite club competition last season, but saw Cesc Fabregas’ first-half goal cancelled out by the hosts’ Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
With the English side missing a number of opportunities, it had appeared that Huntelaar had fouled Fabregas in the build-up to the goal, but Mourinho’s only complaints were on his side’s defending.
“From my position I can’t say that (it was a foul on Fabregas),” Mourinho said. “They scored 1-1 in a counter-attack situation. We made two mistakes.”
“One was not to make a foul immediately when they recovered the ball and we had a chance for that.”
“The other one was the fact I told my players 20 times (Julian) Draxler wants to come inside for his right foot. It was also a mistake in the box.”
Didier Drogba’s last appearance in the competition for Chelsea was in 2012 when his penalty secured the trophy, and his performance against Schalke was – according to the boss – “positive”.
The Portuguese manager was again frustrated by the question about his choice of goalkeeping after continuing with Thibaut Courtois ahead of Petr Cech.
“I don’t accept that you ask me about the goalkeeper every week,” he added.
“For me it’s just a decision and I can’t say more than I say. What I say is that I have two fantastic goalkeepers, two of the best three goalkeepers in the world. And it’s a fantastic situation for Chelsea.”