Jose Mourinho has suggested injuries and a congested fixture schedule could force Chelsea to field a weakened team against Liverpool on Sunday.
Petr Cech and John were forced off with injuries during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg – with the goalkeeper’s season now over and the club captain in a race to be fit for any final outing.
Mourinho has questioned the timing of the trip to Anfield, leaving just two days’ rest before Atletico travel to Stamford Bridge for the return leg, despite having double the break ahead of the weekend clash.
“I can’t decide [the team to face Liverpool] by myself; that’s a decision where I have to listen to the club. I’m just a piece, the manager and no more than that,” he told reporters.
“The fact the match is on Sunday puts the problem not in my hands, but the hands of the people who decide the game should be played on Sunday, not Saturday or Friday.
“We represent English football, we are the only English team in Europe. Spain has four teams and gives them all the conditions to have success.”
Mourinho also insisted Chelsea did not play for a goalless draw during the game, despite managing just 33 per cent possession.
“It wasn’t the result I wanted before kick-off, but I didn’t want to start the second leg a goal down either,” he added.
“A goalless draw is not a positive result for a team playing the second leg at home, but it’ll do. Atletico were frustrated, whereas usually they are the ones who frustrate other teams.
“My side had a solid performance; we played in a way that irritated them.”