Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho revealed on Friday that striker Diego Costa and centre-back Gary Cahill will be fit to face Arsenal in this weekend’s Community Shield.
The pair were injured in Tuesday’s friendly against Barcelona in Washington DC, when Costa was forced out of the game with a hamstring problem and Cahill suffered a suspected broken nose.
But speaking ahead of the traditional Wembley curtain-raiser between the Premier League champions and the FA Cup holders on Sunday, Mourinho confirmed the two players were available to face Arsene Wenger’s side.
“They are both good, everyone is available,” he said.
Costa’s hamstring problem provided a reminder of the Spain international’s injury woes from last season, when the forward suffered a succession of injuries.
But Mourinho believes Costa has resolved last season’s problems and with Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy also at his disposal, he feels he has sufficient cover in attack.
Asked if Costa was now injury-free, Mourinho said: “I believe, but I’m not worried about it. I go match after match. Fantastic group of strikers. So no problem.”
He added: “I have three top strikers. If one is injured, we have two. I have no concerns, no protections. It’s a position where we’re very strong.”
The outcome of Sunday’s meeting will offer nothing more than a pointer with regards to the coming Premier League campaign.
‘More than a friendly’
But the lingering enmity between Mourinho and Wenger a – fuelled by the Arsenal manager’s failure to beat his Chelsea counterpart in 13 attempts a – means the game carries added significance.
“It’s not a friendly like against Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or Arsenal against Wolfsburg,” Mourinho said. “It’s more than that, but it’s less than a Premier League match.
“We lost against Red Bull (the New York Red Bulls) and we were not happy. So it’s normal that we always try to play for a result and the Community Shield has a motivation, obviously different than just a friendly or just a summer tournament. I would say it’s the start of the competition.”
But he added: “I just want my club to get the best possible results.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Arsenal. It doesn’t matter about the (opposing) manager. I just want my team, my club, to try to get the best possible results. That’s all that matters.
“In football you can win or lose or draw. In this case you have to be ready for everything and I never made my victories over Arsenal an explosion of happiness or special pride and I’ll not make a drama if some day we lose.”
However, the Portuguese believes that Wenger’s side will pose a greater threat in the title race this season after finishing 12 points below the champions last time round.
“I always think they are (a threat),” Mourinho said. “I always think they have a very good squad.
“So in this second period in England, immediately when I arrived two years ago, I look at them as a very good squad with very good players. So I think it is more of the same. They are a top squad.”