Chelsea vs West Brom: Jose Mourinho says Diego Costa is ready for ‘marathon’ Christmas

Mourinho said the striker is "free of his old injury"

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The Independent Football

Diego Costa has finally overcome his hamstring problem, and ready to take on his “difficult” debut Christmas programme of football, according to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Having struggled with a hamstring injury for the first part of the season, Costa was rested over the international break and is now “fully recovered” and ready to face West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

This game is the first of what will be an intense period for Chelsea. They will play 13 games in the next 43 days. Costa, having joined from Atletico Madrid this summer, has never played a Christmas programme before.

“[Costa] had a little holiday, with a Chelsea physio, for two weeks,” Mourinho said. “After that he came back, he keeps going in the right direction. We feel he’s free of his old injury.”

Mourinho said he was impressed by Costa in training. “We go match by match,” he said, “but the way he trains and expresses himself in training, he has a free mind. He is free from fears at this moment.”

The Chelsea manager added: “Now we are going to have a period that is new for him. The Christmas period for players doing it for the first time in their careers is more difficult. The English players, or those who have been here for many years, are more adapted and prepared to cope with the special incredible marathon of football we face.”

Mourinho said enthusiasm was indispensable for players putting themselves through the intense run of games. “The mental expectation is fundamental,” Mourinho said. “If you don’t do it in a happy way, thinking ‘I should be having Christmas with my family’, you can’t do it. You have to do it happy, like I do.”