Diego Costa injury: Jose Mourinho says he is powerless to stop striker going on Spain duty

Striker will return against QPR on Saturday

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The Independent Online

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he "cannot stand in the way" if Diego Costa is called up to the Spanish squad next week.

Costa, who has missed three matches for the Blues since playing twice for Vicente del Bosque's men earlier this month, has struggled with niggling hamstring injuries all season.

The 25-year-old has nine goals in seven Premier League matches so far this season and is expected to play some part against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Del Bosque, who will not back down in the club-vs-country row, will name his squad next week for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Belarus on 15 November and the friendly with Germany three days later.

Asked whether Costa would be part of the squad, Mourinho said: "That's not my call, that's not my decision.

"I'm nobody to stand in the way. I cannot stop him from going."

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If Costa plays against Chelsea's west London neighbours it will be his first game for the club since the 2-0 win against Arsenal on 5 October.

"Again he needs to be under special care and we are going to do that. It's the only thing we can do," added Mourinho.

"I'm always supportive of players playing for their countries when the players are in condition to do it and when the players in the national team follow the same kind of procedures to recover from the problems they have."

Costa's absence has been particularly galling for Mourinho as striker Loic Remy suffered a groin injury in the defeat of Maribor, who Chelsea play in Champions League Group G next Wednesday.

Costa's participation in Slovenia is by no means certain.

"Let's see step by step," Mourinho said. "With his situation it's difficult to predict what can happen."

Mourinho confirmed that Remy remains sidelined until the international break in mid-November, while John Obi Mikel has also been ruled out of the match against QPR; however, Ramires is available.

The Portuguese manager will face the local rivals for the first time and is expecting a tough test from Harry Redknapp's side, who won just their second game of the season against Aston Villa on Monday.

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Chelsea face Harry Redknapp's improved QPR

Mourinho is supportive of Redknapp.

"I don't think he's under pressure," the Blues boss said.

"I'm happy that his boss [QPR chairman Tony Fernandes] came out and in difficult moments, not in an easy moment, and told the football country that he trusts Harry and he's the man for now, he's the man for the future.

"Harry is perfectly calm and steady and he knows that his place doesn't depend on results."

"In my years here they were always in the Championship," Mourinho said.

"Everybody knows that London is a special place because of derbies. You play eight or 10 derbies (in a season).

"The London teams have more difficulties than others, because a derby is always a derby.

"What they did before is not important for me. What they can do tomorrow is more important for me.

"I think I know what I can expect from them. It will be a difficult game for us."

Additional reporting from PA

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