Jose Mourinho expects Diego Costa to miss Chelsea's next four games, including crucial clashes against Manchester United and Arsenal, after suffering a familiar hamstring injury.
Costa has struggled with his hamstring at several stages this season with Mourinho claiming that at one stage he was unable to train at all. The Premier League's joint top scorer went down with an injury against Hull City and sat out the international break before convincing Chelsea's medical team that he was fit to play against Stoke City.
He came on as a second-half substitute but lasted only 12 minutes before he suffered a recurrence. Having had scans on the damage, it is believed the injury is worse than first feared and now Mourinho has confirmed he will miss all of April's games, including a crucial trip to the Emirates Stadium.
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Mourinho told reporters: "Only Diego is injured, everybody else is fine and ready.
"I think we have eight matches to play, if he plays four it is normal. If he plays three he is a bit below what I am expecting.
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"If he plays five that is more than I am expecting.
"I am not concerned (by his injury)."
Crucial run in
Loic Remy has impressed when called upon this season but Chelsea will need their best players available if they are to seal their fourth Premier League title. They are currently seven points ahead of second-placed Arsenal and also have a game in hand.
However, they face games against Liverpool, Manchester United and the Gunners before the end of the season and a continuation of Arsenal's form, coupled with a freak collapse, could still see Chelsea miss out.
Costa has been a key component at Stamford Bridge this season, scoring 19 goals and is currently tied for Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot. His absence opens the door for Kane to seal it in what can be considered his rookie season.
Chelsea take on Queens Park Rangers this weekend in a west London derby and face a team fighting for Premier League survival. While Chelsea will be favourites, QPR are at that stage of the season when they will be playing their hearts out and may fancy their chances should Chelsea open the door to complacency.
Will Diego Costa's injury hamper Chelsea's title chances or is it already in the bag? Give us your thoughts in the comment box below!
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