Jose Mourinho confirmed Diego Costa was fit to start ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Liverpool on Saturday, and that he had a fully fit squad to choose from.
Costa was a substitute in the Champions League match against Maribor, but Mourinho expects the Brazilian to start against Liverpool.
Surprisingly, Costa has been rested for the next two international matches for Spain, a decision many believe was influenced by Mourinho’s outburst against the national team. But Mourinho was quick to downplay his role in the decision-making for Spain, while announcing the player to be fit to start against Liverpool.
“He is ready to play but not for the national team. In those days he will rest. I want to make it clear that I did nothing for that [Costa’s emission] to happen.
“He has to go in the right direction.”
When quizzed about the title race and the fact that Chelsea find themselves 6 points out in front of the rest of the league, Mourinho insisted that it was too early for any predictions.
“Everyone that wants to be [is in it]. Southampton is unexpected to be there? Yes. Do they deserve to be there? Yes. We have to respect the fantastic work they are doing.”
Mourinho had already expressed his disgust at the fact that Chelsea had a Saturday lunch-time kick-off against Liverpool after playing against Maribor on Wednesday night, citing concerns over whether his squad would be fit to play.
“It is always a tough time. Match after match. Don’t think about the difficulties. I think the players are mentally ready, if not physically, they can have a bit of a problem.
“It doesn’t matter if we are in a disadvantaged position. What matters is that we have to play tomorrow at 12.45.”
“You always have to play seriously and try to make the best for your team. We will be mentally right. Mentally is more important. I have no concerns [about fitness]. The concerns don’t help me.”
Asked about his tactics for the match and the opposition, Mourinho brought forth his basics and principles on football.
“When you have the ball you have to score. When you don’t have the ball you try to stop the other team from scoring. This is the ABC of football.”
He added: “They are fighting for the title. When we played them last time we weren’t fighting for the tilte. This moment is different. Both teams are fighting.
“I think they are in the race.”
When asked to compare this season’s team to Chelsea teams of the past, Mourinho was quick to point out that the comparison was unfair, since this team is yet to win a title. But he added that there was enough talent in his current team to be the best ever.
“This team has the conditions to keep going in the evolution. The reality is though that this team has won nothing.”
Quizzed about last season’s match which saw Steven Gerrard slip and allow Demba Ba a run at goal, Mourinho insisted that the mistake allowed Man City to win the title, but that it had no impact on his team.
“We were not in the title race,” Mourinho said. “I think they have to think about this season, not last season. They have enough motivation.”
On Liverpool losing Suarez in the transfer window: “When you lose players you lose something.
“But they had fantastic funds to improve their squad. They bought so many important players. Some of them internationals for England.
“I think the potential is there.”
Mourinho signed off with his philosophy on football, and how it is important to be professional.
“What inspires us to win is our job. Every game you have to win. The inspiration is to do the job the best you can in a professional way.
“This is the basics of football.”