Costa, Mikel, Schurrle & Ramires Out of Maribor Visit

Diego Costa, Andre Schurrle, Ramires and John Obi Mikel will all miss Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Maribor, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

Costa was sidelined from the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace at the weekend due to a niggling hamstring problem.

When quizzed on the Spaniard’s fitness, Mourinho said: “It’s the same problem that he has been having. He cannot play tomorrow but I don’t have any idea how long he will be out for.”

Chelsea have won nine and drawn two of their 11 matches so far in the 2014-15 season, with the prolific 25-year-old goalpoacher netting eight of the west London outfit’s goals. The Portuguese boss, 51, however; does not expect Costa’s absence to distort the team’s new-found verve on the forward line.

Mourinho added: “All three (of Chelsea’s striking options) are different. (Didier) Drogba, (Loic) Remy and Diego Costa are different.

Injured Diego Costa and John Obi Mikel Ruled of Champions League Tie With Maribor. Image: Getty.
Injured Diego Costa and John Obi Mikel Ruled of Champions League Tie With Maribor. Image: Getty.

“When somebody is injured, I always look at it as an opportunity for another player. Drogba is not in condition to play 90 minutes, but he is fit to play.

“Hopefully we won’t need any new player in January.”

Mourinho has also ruled Ramires, who last featured in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City on September 21, out of the visit of Slovenian champions. The Brazilian alongside fellow midfield duo of Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel, who both returned from international duty injured, are set to sit out of tomorrow’s match.

He said Nigeria international Mikel “came back from the national team with a foot injury”, but explains the Stamford Bridge outfit are ‘stable” in the midfield position, with the in-form Nemanja Matic and the inexperienced Nathan Ake expected to fill in for the absentees.

“Matic’s game has evolved with the team. He and Mikel are quite similar,” continued Mourinho. “Nathan Ake doesn’t have experience but is ready.

“The team is better, Matic is better, and it’s easier when the team is playing well. He adapted well last season, but this season he has much more understanding of what we want from him, much more confidence, he’s a good player surrounded by good players. We are happy with him, obviously.”

Mourinho also reiterated “there are no laws to protect players (on international duty)” and hopes to keep a better relationship with clubs if eventually he switches lanes in the distant future.

“Out of al the national teams, I’ve only had one phone call- from Roy Hodgson (the England manager),” he noted. “He was the only manager to make a personal contact with me. We have a correct relationship.

“When I was at Real Madrid with Luka Modric, I used to get three phone calls a week from (the Croatia coach) Igor Stimac.

“If I become an international manager, hopefully in 20 years’ time, I will have good conditions to be good to the clubs.

“This is the situation and it hurts, but there is nothing we can do about it.”

Maribor have held both Sporting and Schalke so far but warmed up for the trip to London by losing 2-1 at home to Celje on Saturday, with defender Aleksander Rajcevic scoring two own goals. They also drew at Celtic in the preliminary round of the championship.

On Maribor, Mourinho said: “The results tell you a lot. When you don’t lose at Celtic Park, when you don’t lose in Gelsenkirchen, that tells you they’re a difficult team.

“Their results away from home have been very impressive. “They are still fighting for qualification, so we must go with the best we have.”

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