Jose Mourinho has confirmed he has a full squad to choose from ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield date with Arsenal at Wembley.
The manager had previously rated Gary Cahill and Diego Costa as doubts following the midweek friendly against Barcelona in America, but believes he now has a full complement available to him.
‘All good,’ he said on Friday afternoon. ‘We are fine. Jet lag is minimal, the travelling was very short, it was a very good pre-season in terms of travelling. We are in London since Wednesday morning, no problem.’
Mourinho was then asked about the fitness of last season’s top scorer, Diego Costa, but reiterated his lack of concern.
‘[We have] three top strikers. If one is injured, we have two. No concerns, no protections. It’s a position where we’re very strong. I’m not worried, match after match, and we have a fantastic group of strikers so no problem.’
One area the manager admitted he would like to strengthen is at left-back, following the departure of Filipe Luis to Atletico Madrid this week.
‘We have only one, we are trying,’ he said, but refused to discuss the club’s reported interest in Everton defender John Stones, adding: ‘I don’t speak about players from other clubs, especially now competition starts. It starts for us and Arsenal now, and next week for everyone.’
Mourinho had spoken following the Barcelona game in the US about the motivation for Sunday’s fixture, the opportunity to claim silverware always appealing to the manager and his players. He admits, however, that the Community Shield is a strange fixture, neither a friendly nor a truly competitive outing.
‘I think it’s in between,’ he said. ‘It’s not a friendly like against Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, or Arsenal against Wolfsburg. It’s more than that but less than a Premier League match. We lost against Red Bulls and we’re not happy, so it’s normal we always try to play for a result and the Community Shield has a motivation different from a friendly or summer tournament. It’s the start of competition.’
The Portuguese has famously never lost against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, an unbeaten record stretching 13 games. Impressive, unquestionably, but not something Mourinho spends time thinking about.
‘I just want my club to get the best possible results. Arsenal doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter the manager, I just want my club to get the best possible results, that’s the only thing that matters,’ he said.
‘In football you can win or lose, or draw, and in this case you have to be ready for everything. I never made my victories over Arsenal an explosion of happiness or special pride. I do not make a drama if one day we lose.’
Mourinho also believes the Gunners can be a title rival in the forthcoming season, though does not attribute it directly to their purchase of Petr Cech from the Blues.
‘I always think they are. They have very good squads,’ he said. ‘In this second period in England, immediately when I arrived two years ago I looked at them as a very good squad with very good players. I think it’s more of the same. They’re a top squad.
‘I think they always had very good goalkeepers, now they have one more, but I never felt weaknesses in their goalkeepers.’
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