LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been ruled out of Tuesday night’s Champions League clash with Maribor at Stamford Bridge and his manager Jose Mourinho reveals that this time it’s no mind-games.
Costa missed Chelsea’s Premier League win over Crystal Palace at the weekend with a hamstring injury he aggravated on international duty and Mourinho says the problem will also keep the Spanish international out of the Group G clash.
“It’s the same problem that he’s having, but now an injury, not an almost injury,” said a worried Mourinho. “It’s simple. He’s not training because he’s not in condition to do it.
“He cannot play (against Maribor). Let’s see what happens for next weekend, but next weekend is not important.”
Costa has been in fantastic form since his summer move from Atlético Madrid and will be missed.
But Maribor coach Ante Šimundža knows there’s more to Chelsea than just one player.
“Diego Costa is injured, but others will come in,” Šimundža noted. “Chelsea are the most competitive team in England at the moment. It will be fun to see how they prepare. How they are ready for us.
“They know us very well; we know them very well. We have to be honest and say that Chelsea are the favourites, but we have our aims too. A positive result. A win? Why not? We have to be at our top level to achieve that.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea might be the favourites heading into this fixture at Stamford Bridge, but Mourinho will not be taking the home side lightly.
The EPL side, which carries a 11 game unbeaten streak on the season into this contest will be without four players – Costa, Ramires, Andre Schurrle and John Mikel Obi.
“It’s important to win, yes. The group is not an easy one to win. Sporting are a good team and are playing better and better,” the Blues boss said.
“Schalke are a good team now that Roberto is the new coach, motivation is high. [They’re a] dangerous team.”
Chelsea leads Group G with four points from one win and a draw, while Maribor is third on two points.