Chelsea trio take a break

Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Captain John Terry, Eden Hazard and Willian will be rested for Chelsea’s final Champions League clash with Sporting Lisbon, with the Blues already through as Group G winners.

Chelsea lost for the first time in 24 games this season at Newcastle last Saturday, but can afford to rest key personnel for a match which they need not win and the trio did not train on Tuesday.

Manager Jose Mourinho has opted to give defender Terry the clash off, along with Hazard and Willian, prior to a return to Premier League action against Hull on Saturday.

The match means more for Sporting, who are in a battle with Roberto Di Matteo’s Schalke to advance as group runners up.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the 18-year-old midfielder, is included in the Chelsea squad, with Mourinho likely to balance rotating his options and giving youth a chance with keeping his side in tune for the busy festive programme.

Cesc Fabregas may be included as he is suspended for the visit of Hull to Stamford Bridge this weekend for accumulating five yellow cards.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech could get a third start in the competition this term after twice playing against Slovenia’s Maribor, while Nemanja Matic is available after missing the Newcastle clash through suspension.

Mourinho said: ”Terry, Willian and Hazard are on holidays. I would like to give the whole squad the time off but these three play all the time and I have good solutions for these positions.

”We have so many matches to play in December and we are one of the few teams in the Premier League that also plays the Capital One Cup in this moment.

”(Of) the other teams involved in the Champions League only Liverpool is also in the Capital One Cup.

”Everybody has periods to rest we don’t have. This game gives me the chance to rest these three players.

”We had already the fifth yellow card to Diego (Costa), the fifth yellow card to Matic and now the fifth yellow card to Fabregas, which give them a rest.

”Step by step, match after match, we are trying to find a little period for them to breath and to face this second part of the December month.”

Mourinho said after the loss at St James’ Park that Costa needed to improve his match fitness to continue to score prolifically after his strong start at Chelsea.

The Spain striker will begin the contest on Wednesday.

”Yes, Diego starts tomorrow,” Mourinho said.

Sporting boss Marco Silva wants his side to ensure their Champions League future is entirely in their own hands by beating Chelsea.

A draw would be enough for the Portuguese to advance to the last 16 as Group G runners-up behind Chelsea.

Mourinho wants Chelsea to win against a side they beat 1-0 in Lisbon in September and for his compatriots to advance by Maribor beating Schalke in the group’s other tie.

“Mourinho said the same in Lisbon for the first match,” Silva said. “He said that his desire was to qualify in first place and Sporting in second.

“We want to win independently of what Mourinho said.

“The players know that Chelsea’s very hard. One point is enough, but they want three points.

“Tomorrow we can show everybody if we qualify there is justice in this group. We are playing very well. We want to win to qualify, but we are guaranteed the Europa League.”

Sporting’s European future is secure even if Schalke overtake them, but they are determined to remain among Europe’s elite in the Champions League.

Silva will not keep his players informed of the score in Slovenia.

Silva added: “It’s just one more match, the last one. It’s important for us. We’ve just got to the second stage once. It would be fantastic for the club.

“One point is our target. If we fail we will wait for the other result. I will not tell the players the score in the other match.

“We want our objective. We will fight for our target.”

Nani, the winger on loan at Sporting from Manchester United, is sidelined with a thigh injury.

Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by The News Editor

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