Diego Costa to return for Chelsea against QPR

Spain striker has missed the last four games after aggravating injury on international duty

 Chelsea’s Diego Costa is to return to the starting XI against QPR on Saturday.   Photograph:  Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Chelsea’s Diego Costa is to return to the starting XI against QPR on Saturday. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

 

Diego Costa will return to Chelsea’s starting lineup for their west London derby against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday though José Mourinho is already resigned to losing his leading scorer to the Spanish national set-up later this month.

Costa has been troubled with hamstring and groin injuries in recent times, the latter having been aggravated while playing all but eight minutes of Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Slovakia and Luxembourg last month. As a result the Brazil-born forward missed four Chelsea fixtures, including last Sunday’s draw at Manchester United, with his return to fitness coinciding with Vicente del Bosque preparing to announce his squad next week for the forthcoming qualifier against Belarus and a friendly with Germany.

“Diego is available, and that’s good for us,” said Mourinho, who has fielded the 36-year-old Didier Drogba in the games against United and Shrewsbury in the League Cup given Loic Rémy has been sidelined with a torn groin. “It’s difficult with only one striker available. Is difficult. When you have two, obviously the situation improves.”

Asked about Del Bosque’s intention to retain Costa in his plans, despite the fall-out from his injury last month, the Chelsea manager added: “I have nothing to say, nothing to say. The only thing I can say is what everybody knows, which is he was having problems in Chelsea but we managed to keep him playing, but after the national team we lost him for four matches: Crystal Palace, Maribor, Shrewsbury and United. Four matches in three different competitions. Now he’s again available, but he needs obviously to be again under special care. We are going to do that. It’s the only thing we can do, nothing else.

“His being called up is not my call. Not my decision. I am always supportive of players playing for their countries when the players are in condition to do it, and when the players in the national team follow the same procedures to recover from the problems they have. But I’m nobody to stand in the way of the national team. I cannot stop him going.”

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