Chelsea vs Maribor: Jose Mourinho criticises 'selfish' national coaches after Diego Costa injury lay-off

The Spanish striker will play no part in the Champions League meeting

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho and Chelsea will have to face Maribor without Diego Costa, and made it clear on Monday that he is unhappy with the lack of communication from national team managers, including Spain’s Vicente del Bosque.

Costa has been struggling with a hamstring problem for months, but started both games for Spain in the international break and returned unable to play for Chelsea against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Mourinho said he had “no idea how long” Costa would be out, when asked about his top scorer’s availability to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

While Mourinho would not specifically criticise the Spanish Football Federation, he did say that international managers in general were not open with him about their players. England’s Roy Hodgson has been the only national manager to call Mourinho this season, one relationship Mourinho described as “correct”. In other cases, Mourinho was frustrated with the lack of communication.

“There are no rules, no laws to protect us,” Mourinho said of the balance of power between clubs and federations. “Just the mentality of the national coaches and teams. It’s up to them to take good care of the players or to think in selfish ways. It’s up to them, not to us.”

Mourinho explained how some national team coaches would stay in regular contact – Igor Stimac used to call him three times a week about Luka Modric when Mourinho was Real Madrid manager – but others would not. Spain’s Del Bosque had not called him once over Costa.

Mourinho added: “Sometimes you have national coaches and medical departments in federations that want to establish relations and interest in players, what they are doing, their moment in terms of physical condition and habits around matches. Some others simply don’t care. I can’t ring up and ask to speak to a manager or doctor. It’s out of our hands.

“I have had in my career a few of them in permanent contact with me. With others, year after year with not one single SMS or phone call. It is up to them. We will keep our way.”


For Mourinho, this is obviously an unsatisfactory situation. “I have to accept the way it is,” he said. “It hurts, it hurts. You are not happy when you give a player in good condition and get them back in bad condition. We do not need communication if they come back in good condition – I did not speak with Dunga as the Brazilian players came back perfect.”

What this means for Tuesday’s game is that Loïc Rémy will probably start up front, with Didier Drogba also available, although the Ivorian is “not in condition to play 90 minutes, no chance”. There are not many options for Mourinho, with André Schürrle suffering from illness and Ramires and Jon Obi Mikel both injured. This means that it is likely to be a very similar Chelsea team to the side that won at Palace, with 17-year-old striker Dominic Solanke set for another place on the bench.

Mourinho insisted he would show “full respect” to the  Slovenian side who have not lost any of their eight Champions League matches this season. Chelsea have drawn with Schalke and beaten Sporting Lisbon, and a victory on Tuesday would move them in the right direction.

“Their results tell you a lot,” Mourinho said. “When you don’t lose in eight games, at Celtic Park or at Gelsenkirchen, the away results have been very impressive. They are a difficult team. They  are still fighting for qualification so we have to play the best we have. We concede no favours by resting people or changing the team. No way. Full respect.”