Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has not ruled Diego Costa out of the Barclays Premier League visit to Everton on Saturday despite fears over the striker’s fitness.
The Spain international has scored in the league wins over Burnley and Leicester City but Chelsea have confirmed that Costa had a “minor muscular problem” and that he would be monitored ahead of the trip to Goodison Park.
Chelsea manager Mourinho confirmed that Costa has not trained in the past two days, but is set for a light session on Friday and his participation at Everton will depend on how he comes through that work out.
“At this time I can’t say much, we’re trying everything for him to play tomorrow,” Mourinho said. “He didn’t train the last two days but today [Friday] is the last day, so today we must make a decision to select him or not.
“He has to try a light training session to see if the reaction is positive. If the reaction is positive we take him to Everton, to play or to sit on the bench, let’s see. If the reaction is not positive obviously we don’t select him, at this moment I don’t know much.
“It’s a better scenario [than first feared] but what matters now is the match tomorrow not the match in three weeks or four weeks, tomorrow he is a doubt.”
Costa could prove a big miss as Chelsea try to improve on a disappointing record against Everton on the road. The hosts have won four of the last five league meetings between the sides at Goodison Park, including a 1-0 triumph courtesy of a Steven Naismith goal last season.
In contrast to their visitors, Everton received a boost to their attacking ranks this week. Having already secured the services of Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis during the close-season, Roberto Martinez snapped up another Chelsea old boy in the form of Samuel Eto’o on Tuesday. And the Everton manager has hinted that the Cameroonian, who retired from international duty on Wednesday, could be thrown straight into his starting XI.
“It is difficult,” he told the Everton website. “I tried to have that conversation and, realistically, I would have liked him to have 10 or 11 sessions before we put him in a competitive environment. But I quite quickly learned that I was wasting my time; he wants to be helpful to the team straight away and he wants to be involved.
“He is working [on Thursday] and everything will go down to what condition he has over the next two or three days to make that decision. He arrives at a good time with the international break and that will speed up his adaptation period.”
Lukaku limped out of Everton’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal last weekend but is in contention to face his former club, while Christian Atsu – on loan from Chelsea – is ineligible.
Bryan Oviedo (broken leg), Arouna Kone (knee) and Ross Barkley (knee) remain sidelined, with Steven Pienaar (groin) also absent.
Everton (from): Howard, Robles, Stanek, Alcaraz, Baines, Browning, Coleman, Distin, Duffy, Galloway, Garbutt, Hibbert, Jagielka, Stones, Pennington, Barry, Besic, Grant, Gibson, McCarthy, McGeady, Osman, Byrne, Eto’o, Hope, Long, Lukaku, McAleny, Mirallas, Naismith.
Chelsea (from): Cech, Courtois, Schwarzer, Ake, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Christensen, Ivanovic, Luis, Terry, Zouma, Fabregas, Hazard, Matic, Mikel, Oscar, Ramires, Salah, Van Ginkel, Willian, Costa, Drogba, Schurrle, Torres.
Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: S Long, R Ganfield Fourth Official: C Pawson