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Costa has United chance after all - Mourinho

24 October 2014, 19:00

London - Chelsea striker Diego Costa could yet face Manchester United on Sunday, according to manager Jose Mourinho, despite the Spain international being told to stay away from the Premier League leaders' training ground after spending a night in hospital this week.

Costa has been struggling with hamstring and groin injuries but was hospitalised after suffering a viral infection.

He was then told to remain at home to remove any risk of him transmitting the virus to other members of Mourinho's squad, forcing him to miss Chelsea's 6-0 Champions League rout of Maribor at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and their preparations for United.

Mourinho is now short on forward options with Loic Remy ruled out for up to three weeks with a groin problem sustained in scoring the opening goal against Maribor while Didier Drogba, forced to play 75 minutes against the Slovenian side, lacks match fitness.

And the Portuguese manager, speaking at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Friday, said there was still a possibility Costa could play at Old Trafford this weekend.

"Diego has a chance, he has a little chance," Mourinho said. "Remy no chance. Diego a little chance, the same as John Obi Mikel and Ramires. The only one I can confirm has no chance is Remy."

Mourinho added: "He (Costa) was obviously injured. That was the hamstring. He had to go to hospital with a viral situation that we didn't manage to resolve without being in hospital over one night.

"That was before Maribor. Against Maribor he wouldn't have been ready from the injury, no chance.

"But being ill didn't help (the) process (of)recover(y) because we didn't want him at Cobham.

"Medical staff had to go to his house because they didn't want to bring him here with his viral situation.

"He trained individually, not yet with us. I'm not saying he can play. I'm saying we're trying. We will see what happens by Sunday."

Mourinho has yet to decide whether to field Drogba from the kick-off, having started the corresponding fixtures last season without a recognised centre-forward.

Read also: Arsenal, Sunderland aim to arrest bad form

The Ivorian scored his first goal since returning to Stamford Bridge against Maribor and the manager was confident the 36-year-old forward could fill any gaps.

"Didier's OK, no reaction from injuries so it was a good training session for him against Maribor," Mourinho said. "We're happy for that reaction and he's happy too.

"He is at home. It doesn't matter if he plays a lot or not. Didier is Didier and we're happy to have him. His contribution for the team will always be important.

"He was injured when Costa was fine and scoring goals, which was OK. But the moment Costa couldn't play and especially now Remy can't play, he understands the responsibilities and needs and pushes himself to different levels to do what he must for the team."

Mourinho added: "Last week he was incredible. He hadn't trained once but pushed himself to help us."

United's former Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata this week claimed he had no relationship with Mourinho who sanctioned his 37.1 million ($61.2 million, 44.8 million euros) exit from Stamford Bridge in January.

But Mourinho denied his side -- who could see their five-point lead at the top of the table reduced by the time they kick-off at Old Trafford depending on Saturday's results -- would be facing a player with a point to prove.

"For me Juan is a very good player and I look at him as a very good player," Mourinho said.

"I don't look at him as a special player because of certain circumstances because if I did there would have been 20, 30, 40 players who we sold or decided to leave. It happens.

"For me it's not a problem. He's a very good player and very good players are dangerous.

"A few weeks ago Samuel Eto'o was the same. Lots of talk. He scored his goal (for Everton). We did our job. Relations good. I look at Juan as a very good player, no problem."

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