Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has said striker Diego Costa will start against Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday despite being left out of the Spain squad for this month’s international matches because of persistent injuries.
Earlier on Friday, Costa, who has scored nine Premier League goals this season, was not selected in Spain’s squad for their matches against Belarus and World Cup winners Germany because of a pelvic injury.
Mourinho had been critical of Spain coach Vicente del Bosque’s decision to call Costa into his squad for last month’s games against Slovakia and Luxembourg because the Brazilian-born striker missed Chelsea’s next four matches as a result.
But speaking at a news conference on Friday, the Portuguese coach welcomed Spain’s decision to omit the powerful striker and said he will start at Anfield on Saturday.
“We think he is ready to start the match tomorrow,” Mourinho said. “In the 15 days (international break) he can rest and work. It is fantastic news for us. I thank the Spain FA for the decision that they made.
“The plan is to have a period of complete rest after the match for a few days, and after that to continue the specific work he is doing without having a match to play on the weekend.”
Del Bosque also confirmed that giving Costa a rest would be beneficial for both club and country at this time.
“I have spoken to our doctors and those of Chelsea and I have decided to leave him out due to the situation with his pubis (pelvis),” he told a news conference.
“He may be able to play (in) Chelsea’s next game against Liverpool but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some type of injury problem.”
Del Bosque has looked to freshen up the team following their disappointing early exit at this year’s Brazil World Cup and continued that trend by calling up Jose Callejon, Alvaro Morata, Nolito and Ignacio Camacho for the first time.
European champions Spain have made a stuttering start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and are second in Group C with six points from three games behind Slovakia on nine.
They host Belarus in their next qualifier on Nov. 15 before welcoming Germany for a friendly three days later.
Callejon is top scorer in Serie A with eight goals for Napoli while Morata has taken his limited chances at Juventus well and is pushing for a starting place with Fernando Llorente, another contender for a place in the Spain squad.
Nolito’s quality on the ball has helped Celta Vigo make a strong start to the season in La Liga where they stand sixth and Camacho has been impressive in a defensive role for Malaga.
“We need players with ability who can open up the pitch and can score goals. We need to take advantage of the good form that they are in,” said Del Bosque.
“Camacho has proved himself at youth level and was champion at U-17 (2007 European Championship) and U-21 (2013 Euros). He is 24 and reflects how well Malaga are playing.”