The Portuguese coach admitted after Tuesday night’s emphatic 6-0 Champions League victory over Maribor that top scorer Costa, who is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury, is unlikely to be fit for the weekend. While Remy, who scored the opening goal against Maribor, is not expected to feature after suffering a groin injury.
Can Drogba still lead the line for Chelsea?
This leaves Chelsea with one recognised centre-forward in their ranks: 36-year-old Didier Drogba, who played 74 minutes on Tuesday night. The ageing striker said after the game that he is ready if Mourinho decides to use him this weekend, but doubts persist over whether the Ivory Coast international is still capable of leading the line from the start in such an important fixture.
It’s possible, though, that Mourinho will deploy a side containing no recognised striker, just as he did last season at Old Trafford. The revered Portuguese coach deployed Andre Schurrle as his most-advanced player, as Chelsea secured a 0-0 draw in David Moyes’ first home match as Manchester United manager in August 2013.
Mourinho admits Chelsea have problems
Mourinho conceded after the Maribor victory that Chelsea are in a troublesome predicament ahead of their clash against Louis van Gaal’s side.
"We don't cry about injuries. One injury just means an opportunity for somebody else,” he told reporters. "But we cannot hide. At this moment we have problems."
Boost for Manchester United
Chelsea’s injury crisis will come as a major boost to United boss Van Gaal, whose side currently sit sixth in the Premier League table - 10 points behind the Blues - following Monday night’s fortuitous 2-2 draw against West Brom.
United head into Sunday’s match as the underdogs, with unbeaten Chelsea five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. But the potential absence of Costa, who has scored nine Premier League goals already this season, would be a serious blow for the west London outfit.
The Brazil-born Spain international has been fantastic since arriving from Atletico Madrid, but it wouldn’t be unlike Mourinho if the Chelsea striker suddenly made a miraculous recovery in time for Sunday.