Cech in for Blues

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Published: Friday 12th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Petr Cech will start in goal for Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season after Thibaut Courtois sustained a minor injury in training.

The Czech Republic international has been displaced as the Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper this term by Courtois, who returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer after three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Cech’s only Premier League appearance came in the win over Arsenal in October when Courtois departed injured and now the Belgian is out for Saturday’s match with Hull, the 32-year-old will retain his place following the midweek win over Sporting Lisbon.

Manager Jose Mourinho said: “He (Courtois) had a little problem in training, a little muscular problem and he’s not available.

“(It is) a chance for Petr and a chance for Mark (Schwarzer) to be on the bench.

“We played Petr already in three Champions League matches and every game in the Capital One Cup.

“He doesn’t need to prove something. It’s just an easy simple situation for him. Go and play, which is what he wants to do.

“It’s his natural habitat to be in goal, not on the bench. It’s very comfortable for me, for the players, for the fans to know our goalkeeper tomorrow is Petr Cech.”

Cech’s more peripheral status has led to suggestions he could leave in January, with a host of clubs linked.

“I don’t think it’s possible,” added Mourinho, who has often spoken of his delight at having two of the world’s best three goalkeepers in his squad.

“I read a couple of weeks ago his agent saying there was no chance of him leaving Chelsea in January.

“That, plus the fact that I have no information about any offer to him, makes me believe 100 per cent that he’s staying.”

Mourinho has no intention of activity in next month’s transfer window and dismissed as an impossibility the prospect of Fernando Torres returning.

The Spain striker, a £50million signing from Liverpool in January 2011, is on a two-year loan at AC Milan after a torrid time at Stamford Bridge.

Reports have suggested Torres could depart the San Siro, but he will not be returning to Chelsea.

“That’s an impossible picture,” Mourinho said.

“He’s on loan for two seasons at AC Milan. We have no space. We have no space for players in our list either in the Champions League or in the Premier League.

“But I have to say that nobody from AC Milan made contact with us thinking about that possibility.

“Probably nothing is true. And more than possible he is happy at Milan.”

Chelsea saw their 23-match unbeaten run end at Newcastle last weekend, and Mourinho added: “The response is to play well and to try to win every game. It’s what we are doing since the beginning of the season.

“Results are results, but what can we do more than we are doing?

“Playing very, very well. Not one single bad performance, good spirit, good individual performances.

“We have nothing more to do than what we’re doing. You cannot be better than first in the Premier League, top of the league in the group phase and quarter-final of Capital One Cup.

“Let’s see if Tuesday (at Derby) we can be in the Capital One Cup semi-final and that would be an improvement.”

Playmaker Cesc Fabregas will serve a one-match suspension against Hull as Mourinho reverts to the majority of his first-choice line-up.

Defender John Terry and forwards Eden Hazard and Willian were rested in midweek for the defeat of Sporting Lisbon, which saw Mourinho make six changes to the side which lost at Newcastle.

Hull manager Steve Bruce admits his scouts drew a blank when asked to find a chink in Chelsea’s armour.

The Premier League leaders may have surrendered their unbeaten record, but even that does not fill Bruce with optimism.

The Blues are fierce hosts at Stamford Bridge and will be even more hungry than usual as they look to atone for dropping points last time out.

The scale of the challenge is not lost on Bruce, who revealed his analysts had not been overly helpful in plotting a way past Mourinho’s men.

He said: “It’s funny…one of the reports I get from the scouts usually tries to highlight a weakness and this one came back as ‘none: they don’t have any weakness’, which I thought was quite amusing.

“They have marvellous talent. they haven’t just got flair players, they’re good at set-pieces, they’re big and strong, they’re powerful, good in attacking areas.

“They’re one of the best teams in Europe and they’ve arguably got the best coach too. He’s box office, the fella. What Jose has done is quite remarkable.

“I remember going there with Sunderland a few years ago (2010) and winning 3-0, which always sticks with me, but that doesn’t happen very often.”

Defeat at St James’ Park quashed growing expectation that Chelsea would match Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ this season, but Bruce would not have been surprised to see them repeat that feat.

“They had the look of being unbeatable didn’t they?” he added. “But if we go with the same mentality as we did to Liverpool and Arsenal, who knows, maybe we can take something from them.”

Hull captain Curtis Davies could be handed a recall. The centre-half has been dropped for the last two matches, but Bruce could revert to a back three at Stamford Bridge, opening up a vacancy at

the back. Gaston Ramirez has completed a three-game ban.

Published: Friday 12th December 2014 by The News Editor

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