Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mourinho: I owe Loic Remy more game time

Loic Remy celebrates with manager Jose Mourinho and staff after scoring the third goal for Chelsea
Loic Remy celebrates with manager Jose Mourinho and staff after scoring the third goal for Chelsea
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during a press conference

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admits he owes match-winner Loic Remy more game time with Diego Costa's latest hamstring problem possibly providing an opening.

The striker has started just three Barclays Premier League matches since his summer switch from QPR but stepped off the bench to score the winner in Sunday's 3-2 victory at Hull.

Remy was only on the pitch as a result of Costa's latest injury breakdown, but converted less than two minutes later to restore the Blues' six-point lead at the top of the table.

Costa will undergo scans in London on Monday, with Spain monitoring the situation ahead of games against Ukraine and Holland.

Mourinho, meanwhile, could use any absence to repay a debt to Remy,

"Probably he deserves more than what I give him," Mourinho said.

"Sometimes, not many times, a coach can feel he owes something to a player. With Remy that is the case, I think I owe him something.

"Every time he plays he gives us a lot. I'm so happy for him because he deserves it. He never complains."

Costa is one of just three strikers in the Spain squad and though they would be keen to have him aboard, Mourinho spoke with concern about his fitness travails.

Jose Mourinho2.jpg
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during a press conference

"He has this problem. He tried to play the Champions League final for Atletico (Madrid, last season) and was injured again and again and again. He has this fragility," the Portuguese added.

''We know his hamstring is not a strong one. He works hard through the week to compensate the weakness he has there but the injury can come.

''If he is injured then we have Remy, we have (Didier) Drogba. We never cry about injured players.''

Costa, who earlier curled home his 20th goal of the campaign, may also hear more about an apparent elbow on Hull's Jake Livermore in the second half, which was picked up by television cameras but not by match officials.

Chelsea looked to be coasting at 2-0 up inside nine minutes but, after Ahmed Elmohamady and Abel Hernandez scored within seconds of each other, Hull at times threatened to take all three points.

As it was, Chelsea were triumphant and left Mourinho feeling good about the title race.

''I'm not pretty sure, I'm pretty confident. I believe in my players, I believe that we can do it but I know it's difficult," he added.

At one stage Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois looked like he may have cost his side the win, having presented Hernandez with an open net for the equaliser.

But he more than made up for that error with a series of interventions, not least a remarkable triple block from Elmohamady, Livermore and Gaston Ramirez.

Tigers boss Steve Bruce was left to rue that moment at full-time.

"The big turning point in the game was where Courtois pulls off three saves which change the course of the game,'' he said.

"But that's as good as we've played for a long, long time, against the best team in England.

"We're obviously disappointed to lose the game because I don't think we deserved that.

"We gave Chelsea a hell of a run for their money."

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