Jose Mourinho has revealed that Diego Costa was not mentally ready to take to the field against Stoke today.
The Blues will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the table over Arsenal who are currently their closest rivals. The Gunners moved to within four points of Jose Mourinho's men with their 4-1 win over Liverpool today having played two games more.
Now Chelsea will look to pick up where they left off after their 3-2 win at Hull before the international break and consolidate their lead at the top with Manchester City still to play. However they will have to do that without leading scorer Costa, who pulled out of Spain's squad during the break with a muscle injury, but has been training this week.
Mourinho has confirmed that Costa was physically able to take to the pitch, but was struggling to get his head right in time to go up against a tough Stoke side.
He told Sky Sports ahead of the showdown against Mark Hughes' side: "He's not confident. The muscle is fine in training but he's not confident to play".
Chelsea's official Twitter account also put out an explanation behind Costa's absence, with the Special One adding: Two days of training is not enough for him to feel ready to play. He’s on the bench in case we need to gamble. If we have to do it, we will do it."
Loic Remy, who bagged the crucial winner against Hull, takes the place of the Spanish international. Elsewhere there are two changes to the Chelsea side that took to the field against the Tigers, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Oscar coming in for Filipe Luis and Ramires.
Jose Mourinho has done the right thing by not risking Costa in the game against Stoke, which is bound to be a physical one.
Costa seems to have never really shaken off a series of muscle injuries across the season and his form has faded badly since the turn of the year. The Blues have a gap at the top and have games in hand, so have the luxury of resting him ahead of the final run in when they should be crowned champions.