Diego Costa will not play against Crystal Palace and the Chelsea striker may not feature again this season if the champions-elect clinch the Premier League title with victory on Sunday, manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday.
Costa, who has scored 19 goals in his first season in England, has not featured since going off with a hamstring injury against Stoke City on April 4.
Chelsea are three points away from a first league title since 2010 and Mourinho said he may allow the 26-year-old Costa, who has been plagued by hamstring injuries dating back to last season at Atletico Madrid, to take the rest of the campaign off.
“There is a chance he might not play again if we win on Sunday,” Mourinho told a news conference.
“If we lose on Sunday and need the points against Liverpool, I would say he plays. In this moment we are result after result. If we don’t need him he probably doesn’t play again.
“He needs a long break and a good period of work. We are preparing a good working situation for him during the holiday period.”
Chelsea beat Leicester City 3-1 on Wednesday to open up a 13-point lead at the top and Mourinho said his players were relaxed ahead of the match against Palace at Stamford Bridge.
“We are calm,” the Portuguese coach said. “We need two or three points to be champions. Let’s say three to make sure you don’t depend on goal difference.
“We have been top of the league since the beginning of the season. That is something very difficult to do.
“Obviously, we want to finish as soon as possible. If we can finish it at home, on Sunday, even better. That’s what we have in our minds.”
Asked how he would celebrate winning a third league title at Chelsea after back-to-back triumphs in 2005 and 2006 during his first stint in charge, Mourinho said: “I will go home. We have nothing prepared. Normally, I finish the game and go home.”