Jose Mourinho confirms Diego Costa set for Champions League start

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Jose Mourinho has given an update on the condition of Chelsea's strikers ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon.

Spanish international Diego Costa was deemed by many as unlikely to start at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, with the former Atletico Madrid forward - who moved to Stamford Bridge for a £32 million fee this summer - believed to be struggling with a rather persistent hamstring niggle.

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Costa risked

However, Mourinho - who opted to leave the prolific Costa on the substitutes' bench for Chelsea's last European tie at home to Schalke - confirmed that his talisman would lead the line in the Portuguese capital and also expressed his hope that he would be able to do the same in the keenly-anticipated Premier League clash with London rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

The decision to start Costa despite the obvious risk of making his injury worse may well stem from the fact that Didier Drogba is set for a short spell on the sidelines after appearing to sustain an ankle injury in training this week.

Ivorian Drogba has not travelled with his Chelsea teammates to Lisbon and Mourinho is not hopeful that he will be available to continue his phenomenal goalscoring record against the Gunners at the weekend.

Mourinho update

"Diego starts," Mourinho was quoted by the club's official website on Tuesday morning.

"Hopefully he plays again on Sunday, against Arsenal, but at the moment I don’t think about Arsenal, I think about Sporting and Diego starts tomorrow.

"There is a risk, yes, but he plays. We assume the risk and he plays. Hopefully everything goes well and hopefully from Tuesday to Sunday he has enough period of time to be back on track and play against Arsenal."

On Drogba, he added: "Drogba is going to be out for a couple of weeks,’ continued Mourinho, with the subject now turning to the Ivorian striker who has not travelled to Lisbon with the squad.

"He had a problem in the training session with his ankle, so it was not possible for him to travel and I think it will not be possible for him to recover for Sunday."

Chelsea favourites

As overwhelming favourites for the match, Mourinho will be keen to ensure that his usually formidable side do not produce a repeat of their somewhat lacklustre showing that saw them drop points at home to Schalke.

Provided he suffers no late knock that could threaten to limit his involvement in the action, Costa should prove essential given that he has already notched eight goals for Chelsea in his first seven games in all competitions.

With Drogba sidelined, Loic Remy will presumably be relied upon to provide the necessary cover up front.

UEFA Champions League
Didier Drogba
Diego Costa
Premier League

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