PSG vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho fears Diego Costa will not be up to speed for crucial Champions League last-16 first-leg

While PSG have considerable injury concerns, having lost four key players in their draw with Caen on Saturday, Mourinho also has worries over Fabregas, Oscar and Willian

Jose Mourinho fears that Chelsea will not see the best of Diego Costa against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday night because the striker has lost his edge over his three-game Football Association ban for stamping on Emre Can.

The Chelsea manager confirmed that Costa will start the first leg, round of 16 game against the French champions but expressed concern that such a long lay-off from first-team football – 21 days in all – would affect his form.

Mourinho said: “A long rest is not good for him [Costa]. I don’t think it’s good for him or any player. A little rest is welcome for everyone, a big rest doesn’t make good for the players. So we are not going to see the best Diego. I hope I’m wrong, but probably he will need this game to try to get it.

“We organised a game three or four days ago with the kids for him to compete. We tried to replicate competition for him, but it’s different. But I know his hunger to play, a big appetite to play and Champions League scenario is a scenario every player enjoys.”

 

While PSG have considerable injury concerns, having lost four key players in their draw with Caen on Saturday, Mourinho also has worries over Cesc Fabregas, who has been ill. Oscar and Willian are also not completely fit. However, both should be ready and the only player definitively out is John Obi Mikel.

Mourinho said he was yet to decide which of his two goalkeepers was to play in the game, with Petr Cech having started the Premier League victory over Everton last Wednesday.

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Jose Mourinho kept his choice of keeper close to his chest

“He [Thibaut Courtois] doesn’t know if he plays or not, so I can’t tell you,” Mourinho said. “He has to know from me, not from the media. But  I repeat: Chelsea have the  two best goalkeepers in the Premier League. For me, it is  an 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. Petr can start again but he doesn’t know. Neither does [Courtois]. So I can’t tell you.”

Mourinho also said that Eden Hazard’s new five-and-a-half-year contract with the  club demonstrated his loyalty, in spite of strong interest  from PSG.

The manager said: “He [Hazard] is a fantastic player, the kid was always a good kid, easy to have him in the group, easy to like him, easy to feel loved by everyone, so the kid was never a problem. He was always a fantastic kid.

“His evolution has been very, very good. Speculation when a talent like him doesn’t sign a contract... it’s normal to have speculation around him but at this moment it’s end of story, because nobody signs a five-year contract without being absolutely convinced of his happiness and his future. So good for him, good for him, and obviously very good for the club.”

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