Football

Mourinho: Costa can't play every game

Jose Mourinho revealed Diego Costa is unable to play three games in a week, after the Chelsea striker suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with Spain.

Costa (photo) has made a blistering start to his Chelsea career after a £32 million ($66.3m) move from Atletico Madrid and his impressive haul of seven goals in four games, including a hat-trick against Swansea City last Saturday, had lifted his new team to the top of the Premier League table.

But the Brazil-born star sustained a hamstring problem during Spain's friendly against France earlier this month and was forced to miss their Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia.

Now Mourinho says Costa's injury means he has to be treated with extreme caution to avoid aggravating it and potentially losing him for a long period.

The 25-year-old was left on the bench for all but the last 16 minutes of yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 1-1 draw with Schalke in the Champions League, with his appearance coming too late to break down the Germans' defence.

"Costa has a problem and he can't play three matches in a week," Mourinho said.

UNFIT

"After playing last Saturday, three days are not enough to recover.

"It was not to protect him for the game at Manchester City on Sunday. It's because he was not in condition to start the game.

"He came to us in the summer and he was completely fine. He had a problem with the national team - now we have the problem and we have to resolve it as best we can.

"I don't know how long this will be the situation. We have to manage it.

"He went to the national team in perfect condition and came back injured.

"It happened to Diego and happened to players in so many other national teams.

"I don't need to be critical, it is just the reality."

With Costa unable to play, Chelsea endured a frustrating opening to their European campaign against Schalke, and Mourinho said:

"It's a good point for them and a point for us, but not a fantastic point."

After watching his side fail to win any of their opening three Bundesliga fixtures, Schalke coach Jens Keller was ecstatic with his side's display.

"When I went into the dressing room, I told the team how proud I am. If they can play like that against a world-class team, there must be something right," he said.

"Maybe Chelsea underestimated us a little but, regardless of that, my team played well and did exactly what we planned." - AFP.