Jose Mourinho has said he is prepared to gamble on the fitness of eight-goal summer signing Diego Costa in Tuesday’s Champions League Group G clash against Sporting Lisbon at Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.
The two-time competition winner recently expressed concern about Spain striker Costa’s ability to play more than one game a week because of a hamstring injury.
But with Didier Drogba unavailable because of an ankle injury, Mourinho confirmed in his press conference on Monday he will again send out the former Atletico Madrid favourite to spearhead the attack.
“Diego Costa will start tomorrow,” said the Portuguese coach.
“Didier Drogba will be out a few weeks because of an ankle injury.
Although he [Costa] may get injured, he will play. I hope he may be fit enough to play against Arsenal [at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday]. I will have quality options on the bench to replace him or to change the course of the game if needed.”
Mourinho previously worked as a coach and interpreter at Sporting under the legendary Bobby Robson and famously guided domestic rivals FC Porto to Champions League success in 2004.
The 51-year-old said he hoped his former club could also make it out of Group G and into the knockout stages of Europe’s premier club competition.
“I did everything I could at this club,” he added. “If I could choose the outcome of this group I’d have us first and Sporting second.
“A good result for us is to win and we will try but Sporting have their weapons.”
Sporting are currently priced 5.05 in the match betting and the draw is available to back at 3.65. Chelsea are quoted 1.73 by Dafabet in the 90 minutes market.