Jose Mourinho has confessed that he took a gamble when he brought Diego Costa on at half-time in the game against Stoke at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had led through an Eden Hazard penalty, but Charlie Adam scored a stunning goal from within his own half to equalise before the break. With the score 1-1 heading into the second half, the Chelsea manager decided to give Costa a run out in the hope of tipping the balance of the game into Chelsea’s favour.
Mourinho admitted earlier in the season that Costa couldn’t play more than 1 game in a week because of his previous hamstring problems. The injury flared up again when Chelsea played Hull just before the International break, and the Blues striker was forced to miss Spain’s games against Ukraine and the Netherlands.
With the game on a knife-edge, and Chelsea determined to keep pushing themselves on towards the title, Mourinho chose to gamble by replacing Oscar with Diego Costa, despite the forward being less than fully fit.
It was a gamble that backfired, with the Brazilian born Spanish international lasting just 10 minutes before limping off.
“If the result was 2-0 he wouldn’t play”, said Mourinho. “But I have to risk. My medical department had to risk… From all the scans two days ago, the muscle and image was completely clean”.
Having scored 19 goals since arriving from Atletico Madrid for £32 million in July last year, Costa has been an influential part of Chelsea’s title challenge. Now, with Costa likely to be out for at least 2 weeks, the pressure will fall on Loic Remy and Didier Drogba to help drag the Blues over the line for the title.
The striker will definitely miss games against QPR and Manchester United, with Chelsea still having to play Arsenal, Liverpool and a Leicester side that will scrapping with all their lives to avoid relegation.
Mourinho will be hoping that his squad has enough firepower left to keep themselves out of the grasp of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United, should Costa fail to come back from his injury with the same form he has displayed all season.