Mourinho without Costa for four games

Chelsea striker Diego Costa’s hamstring injury will keep him on the sidelines until early next month

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The Independent Football

Chelsea’s leading scorer Diego Costa is likely to miss the next four games as the club attempt to regain the Premier League title, manager Jose Mourinho said yesterday.

That means sitting out key matches against title rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, as well Leicester and tomorrow’s opponents, relegation strugglers Queen’s Park Rangers.

The Brazilian-born Spain international, who has scored 19 league goals in his first season in English football, injured a hamstring soon after coming on as a half-time substitute in last weekend’s game against Stoke City.

Mourinho said it would be “normal” for Costa to miss the next four games, which would mean him returning for the final four, starting with Crystal Palace on 3 May. Chelsea  have a seven-point lead, so need 15 more from eight games to regain the title they last won under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010.

Mourinho also said he would not leave out midfielders Cesc Fabregas or Nemanja Matic tomorrow, although both are one yellow card away from suspension. “The game is a three-point game,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to think about some matches and not about others. We have to play with our maximum power. Nobody is expecting an easy match. Last weekend we played against a team that is very stable in the middle of the table and they were fantastic in their approach, their commitment, trying to win the match or not lose it.”

Mourinho would not be drawn, however, on speculation involving Japanese striker Yoshinori Muto of FC Tokyo, for whom Chelsea are reported to have bid £4m.

Wallace, the Chelsea defender on-loan at Vitesse Arnhem, has been arrested on “suspicion of a sexual offence”. He has been fined by the Dutch club and will not be available for selection this weekend.

The QPR manager, Chris Ramsey, has said he will shake John Terry’s hand after the game, four years after he was involved in a racism controversy. The Chelsea captain was banned for four games and fined £220,000 after being found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road in 2011. Terry was later cleared following a criminal trial.

Ramsey said: “Ultimately, John Terry is a player of Chelsea and I am the manager of QPR, and as a man and a person I would shake John’s hand after the game.”

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