Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Diego Costa is carrying a hamstring injury that has been affecting him since last season, in a startling revelation in the Sun.
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Costa went off in the second half against Hull City yesterday, and it is not yet clear how his fitness will be for this season’s title run-in.
“Diego has had this problem since playing for Atletico Madrid in last season’s Champions League final,” Mourinho said. “It’s not bad enough to require an operation — but it can come at any time and we have to look after him.”
Loic Remy came off the bench to replace Costa and managed to grab the winning goal, with Mourinho insisting his side cannot complain about injuries due to their squad depth.
“If he is injured then we have Loic Remy, we have Didier Drogba. We never cry about injured players,” he added, but does he really mean that?
Between them, Remy and Drogba have played 47 games this season; between them they have scored 12 goals. Sure, neither has played regularly, and many of these appearances have come from the bench, sometimes with little time remaining. At the same time, Remy has had injury problems of his own this term and hasn’t had a great record in his career as a whole, failing a medical to Liverpool in the summer in strange circumstances. Drogba, meanwhile, is 37 years old and would not be a suitable choice to play 90 minutes every week if – worst case scenario, but not a totally unrealistic one – Chelsea lost both Costa and Remy.
The Blues were unconvincing in their win over Hull, but Costa’s quality for the second goal showed how vital it is having that calibre of striker in the team. Remy’s winner, by contrast, was highly fortunate, and there will certainly be some cause for concern that this title race is not over yet if it turns out the club’s £32m summer signing is not at peak fitness in the final games of the campaign.