Having dropped Petr Cech for the opening game of the season, Jose Mourinho said he expected the Chelsea keeper to stay at Stamford Bridge.
After a comfortable 3-1 win over Burnley, in which saw an accomplished debut from Thibault Courtois, the Chelsea manager said the 22-year-old would be in goal when they faced Leicester City on Saturday. However, having managed Cech to two Premier League titles, Mourinho thought he would not seek a transfer.
“Thibault was my first choice today but I don’t like the phrase ‘for the rest of the season’,” Mourinho said. “He played well enough to be first choice in the next game but when you have someone like Petr in reserve and you don’t perform, then you are in trouble.
“I want to keep Petr and, hopefully, he will stay at Chelsea. No player is happy when he is not playing every game and sometimes they are not happy when they are not playing for 10 minutes. Sometimes you give them a rest and they are not happy.
“I have known Petr for 10 years. He will not sit back and relax, he will be exactly the opposite. I expect him to go into the training ground on Wednesday and be a top professional.”
Although Chelsea’s victory over a team that cost £5m to assemble was not a surprise, Mourinho would have been satisfied both with Cesc Fabregas’ impact on his first Premier League game for Chelsea and in the way his side reacted after going behind.
Last season, their title challenge disintegrated amid draws and defeats inflicted by five teams that finished in the bottom 10 and when Scott Arfield opened the scoring spectacularly after 14 minutes, it appeared the pattern might be repeated at Burnley.
“Emotionally, we were not affected by the goal,” said Mourinho. “We kept to the way we had been training. We were very calm; we never lost our composure and we never lost our ideas. We had a clear penalty (when Diego Costa was brought down by Burnley’s keeper, Matt Gilks) but the linesman said it was not to be.
“Cesc was man of the match and probably last season we could not have controlled the game the way we controlled it today.
“When a player is your first choice, it is very rare you make a mistake and Cesc was our first choice for that position. For most of the last 10 years we have been in the same league, either in England or Spain, and at Barcelona he was playing all over the place - as a false nine, a nine, as the number 10 and as a winger. He knows better than me what his best position is and there he can bring other people in the right direction and for that I am really happy.”
Mourinho was irritated by the suggestion that Costa’s reputation as a diver may have influenced the referee, Michael Oliver, not to award the forward a penalty on his debut - although he did score the Chelsea equaliser.
“Costa had a fantastic season in the Spanish league,” he said. “He got five or six yellow cards. We explained what we wanted in the Premier League, what people like and do not like and he had a fantastic attitude (to the decision). He was polite but it was a clear penalty and he got a yellow card. I hope he doesn’t have many more unfair decisions.”