LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea striker Diego Costa has “trained very well” and is in contention to return to the team at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, after his temper tantrum at Tottenham Hotspur last week, said manager Jose Mourinho.
The controversial Spanish international made his annoyance clear after being left on the bench during the goalless draw at Spurs, throwing a training bib in the manager’s direction when it was clear he would not be brought on.
“He’s been very good, he trained very well,” Mourinho told a news conference on Friday. “Diego is the type of player who always tries, I just need him to be what he is, I don’t need a reaction.”
Chelsea’s Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, missing since injuring a knee in September, will return against Bournemouth or in the Champions League tie at home to Porto on Wednesday, when Mourinho’s side need a win to finish top of Group G.
“To lose your number one for three months, something like for 19 matches without the best goalkeeper in the world, is tough for us,” Mourinho added. “If he does not play against Bournemouth he will play against Porto.”
It will be a rare visit to Stamford bridge by Bournemouth, who are in the top flight for the first time in their history.
The two clubs have met five times before and only played in the same division in one previous campaign, 1988-89.
“Brilliant work last season,” Mourinho said of the south coast club. “The Premier League is different but they believe in themselves, they deserve respect.”
He is confident, however, that Chelsea are over the worst run of his managerial career, dropping to 16th place before keeping three successive clean sheets in all competitions.
“If we can get a good result, it will be four in a row unbeaten and we haven’t had that for a long time.
“We performed very well at Tottenham. We could have played another couple of hours and not conceded a goal.”
Defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic will wear a mask to protect his broken nose, but club captain John Terry, midfielder Ramires and striker Radamel Falcao are not yet fit.
(Reporting by Steve Tongue; Editing by Ken Ferris)