Jose Mourinho has suggested that Thibaut Courtois's loss of focus forced his decision to drop the Belgian in favour of Petr Cech for the visit of Everton.
The 22-year-old has established himself as the first choice goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge this season, starting 21 of Chelsea's Premier League games so far. However, he sat on the sidelines during Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Toffees.
It came as a result of several unconvincing displays and Mourinho has now admitted that he made the decision to drop Courtois because he believed that he had grown mentally exhausted.
“I played Cech because Courtois played consecutive matches and he needs to be very focused," Mourinho told reporters.
"The focus must be permanent. Also a goalkeeper can be tired, not just physically, but in the nervous system, Petr was working very hard in training."
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Cech thoroughly impressed between the sticks at Stamford Bridge, making a stunning save from Romelu Lukaku's point blank shot with the score at 0-0. Mourinho appreciated the save, but maintained that the 32-year-old had little else to do.
“He [Cech] touched the ball twice,” Mourinho said. “He was a spectator.
“In the first half he made a good save, in the second there was a super save. This is what we need."
A big battle commences
Courtois could now be facing a huge fight to win his place back in the Chelsea team. Cech had previously been the No 1 goalkeeper for a decade before Courtois arrived in west London and it seems the Czech Republic international is not ready to call time on an illustrious career with the Blues.
Mourinho must also realise that if Cech is not given the chance to win back his place he is unlikely to want to stay beyond the summer. Both goalkeepers are world-class and keeping them equally happy seems improbable.
However, Courtois has plenty more miles on the clock and looks set to be the man to protect Chelsea's net for the next decade. In the same way that Cech stole Carlo Cudicini's place all those years ago, it will eventually pay dividends to keep Courtois happy.
The genius of it all is that having such high quality opposition will theoretically help Courtois to push himself to even greater heights. Dropping him after just a slight dip in form will teach him a lesson and a spell out of the side will force him to work harder.
Who do Chelsea fans think their No 1 goalkeeper should be? Is Mourinho right to drop Courtois? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below
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