We will be without two regulars for tomorrow’s game against Hull City, including the injured Thibaut Courtois, and Jose Mourinho has explained why he has complete faith in their replacements.
Speaking at his customary pre-match press conference Mourinho reported the Belgian goalkeeper picked up an injury in training. Cesc Fabregas, another player who has started each of our 15 Premier League games to date, will also miss out because he is suspended but the duo’s unavailability is not something which concerns the manager.
‘It’s just our philosophy,’ said Mourinho. ‘Fabregas obviously has been amazing for us and is playing fantastically well but he is suspended tomorrow so we don’t think about him. We trust the other person that will have a chance to play, and Fabregas will be fresh to play against Derby.
‘Courtois had a little problem in training, a little muscular problem and he’s not available for tomorrow. It’s a chance for Petr and a chance for Mark to be on the bench so we’re more than comfortable.
‘We have played Petr in three Champions League matches and every Capital One Cup game and he has always had our confidence. He has absolutely nothing to prove to me, to the club, to his team-mates or to the supporters.
‘It’s an easy, simple situation for him: go and play, which is what he has done his entire career. It’s very comfortable for me, for the players and for the fans to know our goalkeeper tomorrow is Petr Cech.
‘It’s his natural habitat to be in goal and not on the bench. That’s why since the beginning of the season I have kept saying it’s perfect for me to have Petr in the squad.’
A home fixture with Hull brings back memories of Mourinho’s first game back in charge of the Blues on that sunny August afternoon last year, and the boss was asked to measure his side’s improvement since then.
‘We’re a completely different team. There has been evolution in the quality of our game and evolution in many individuals after so many weeks of work. We are a better team. I hope the result can be the same.
‘We are better and I think Hull are with the great work Steve [Bruce] is doing.’
The manager also reiterated what he has said since our first defeat of the season at Newcastle last weekend, that the team can do nothing more considering the Blues are top of our domestic and European leagues and in the last eight of the Capital One Cup. He then pointed out we have not produced one single bad performance this season.
There are plenty of Premier League points on offer in the coming weeks with five matches in 19 days as well as that impending Capital One Cup quarter-final, and Mourinho told the journalists in detail how he was planning to manage this busy period.
‘I don’t think one player will play these six matches,’ he said. ‘The ones that play more will have to go to five. I think I have to give them one rest.
‘We have two days off after the Derby game which allows the players to go home - not the South American ones because it’s very far - but the ones around England like Belgium, France, Germany and so on.
‘They can go and have a nice dinner with their families. It’s the only two days I can give them. We play on Tuesday against Derby, I give them the Wednesday and Thursday off, and after that they’re back on Friday to play on Monday against Stoke.’
With the January transfer window not far away now it was no surprise the journalists present wanted comment on some speculation before the conference finished.
First Mourinho told them the club have had no contact with AC Milan regarding the future of Fernando Torres but that there no chance of the striker returning to Stamford Bridge next month. He was then asked by an Egyptian journalist whether Mohamed Salah remained part of his plans.
‘Salah is our player, he is a player we like and a player we trust,’ Mourinho emphasised. ‘He is a player in our squad and he is going nowhere. He doesn’t go for sure. Maybe he moves house, but not club!’