Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reserved special praise for Cesc Fabregas and Ramires following victory over Liverpool on Saturday afternoon, revealing that both were willing to play despite carrying injuries.
Mourinho’s side reinforced their dominance at the summit of the Premier League table as their unbeaten run stretched to 17 matches across all competitions, with Diego Costa predictably providing the decisive intervention.
Emre Can opened the scoring for Liverpool when his shot deflected off the abdomen of Gary Cahill and past Thibaut Courtois, before the Chelsea defender got his side immediately back on terms with a bundled effort.
Costa clinically dispatched his 10th goal of the campaign to ensure the visitors clinched all three points at Anfield but, as Mourinho explained, victory came at a cost for side with Fabregas and Ramires now set for spells on the sidelines.
"Every player was fantastic, but I need to tell you about Fabregas and Ramires,” Mourinho told reporters after the game.
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“They both played injured. Maybe we will lose them for a match or two but they put themselves out there for the team.
"I think it's fair for me to give a word to Ramires and Fabregas and also to my medical department.
"The medical department did fantastic work on them and they were fantastic to resist the problems that they had.
"Fabregas, in this moment, I think maybe is a problem for the next match because we gambled everything on a hamstring problem and the medical department took the risk together with me, so a special word for them and for Ramires and Fabregas.
"Ramires’ is the same adductor injury. He knew it was important I started with him, and Fabregas is a fantastic professional. He gambled."
Chelsea are fortunate that these issues for Fabregas and Ramires come with an international break on the horizon, which will allow them an extended period of rest before they are next required for their club.
This is, of course, assuming they pull out of duty for Spain and Brazil respectively - something that would appear likely following the comments from Mourinho.