Cech to start in goal against Hull City after Courtois sustains injury

BY foxsports • December 12, 2014

Petr Cech will start in goal for Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season after Thibaut Courtois sustained a minor injury in training.

The Czech Republic international has been displaced as the Blues' first-choice goalkeeper this term by Courtois, who returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer after three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Cech's only Premier League appearance came in the win over Arsenal in October when Courtois departed injured and now the Belgian is out for Saturday's match with Hull, the 32-year-old will retain his place following the midweek win over Sporting Lisbon.

Manager Jose Mourinho said: "He (Courtois) had a little problem in training, a little muscular problem and he's not available for tomorrow.

"(It is) a chance for Petr and a chance for Mark (Schwarzer) to be on the bench.

"We played Petr already in three Champions League matches and every game in the Capital One Cup.

"He doesn't need to prove something. It's just an easy simple situation for him. Go and play, which is what he wants to do.

"It's his natural habitat to be in goal, not on the bench. It's very comfortable for me, for the players, for the fans to know our goalkeeper tomorrow is Petr Cech."

Cech's more peripheral status has led to suggestions he could leave in January, with a host of clubs linked.

"I don't think it's possible," added Mourinho, who has often spoken of his delight at having two of the world's best three goalkeepers in his squad.

"I read a couple of weeks ago his agent saying there was no chance of him leaving Chelsea in January.

"That, plus the fact that I have no information about any offer to him, makes me believe 100 per cent that he's staying."

Mourinho has no intention of activity in next month's transfer window and dismissed as an impossibility the prospect of Fernando Torres returning.

The Spain striker, a £50million signing from Liverpool in January 2011, is on a two-year loan at AC Milan after a torrid time at Stamford Bridge.

Reports have suggested Torres could depart the San Siro, but he will not be returning to Chelsea.

"That's an impossible picture," Mourinho said.

"He's on loan for two seasons at AC Milan. We have no space. We have no space for players in our list either in the Champions League or in the Premier League.

"But I have to say that nobody from AC Milan made contact with us thinking about that possibility.

"Probably nothing is true. And more than possible he is happy at Milan."

Torres started the first game of Mourinho's second spell, which was against Hull.

The self-proclaimed 'Special One's' return was hailed by the Stamford Bridge crowd in August 2013 and the Portuguese believes his team have improved beyond recognition since the 2-0 win.

"A completely different team," he said. "The evolution in the quality of our game, evolution in many individuals that after so many weeks of work they improve a lot.

"We are a better team. I hope the result can be the same.

"I think Hull the same - they're a better team. Great work (Hull manager) Steve (Bruce) is doing."

Chelsea saw their 23-match unbeaten run end at Newcastle last weekend, and Mourinho added: "The response is to play well and to try to win every game. It's what we are doing since the beginning of the season.

"Results are results, but what can we do more than we are doing?

"Playing very, very well. Not one single bad performance, good spirit, good individual performances.

"We have nothing more to do than what we're doing. You cannot be better than first in the Premier League, top of the league in the group phase and quarter-final of Capital One Cup.

"Let's see if Tuesday (at Derby) we can be in the Capital One Cup semi-final and that would be an improvement."

Despite their long unbeaten streak, Chelsea are just three points ahead of defending champions Manchester City entering this weekend's fixtures.

Mourinho, who played down the impact of injury to City's Sergio Aguero, added: "They have a magnificent squad. (They) went to Roma to play a Champions League 'final', they were there without two, three important players and they won. They have a very good squad.

"We don't think about them, we think about ourselves. And we know if we beat Hull City, we're top of the league."

Mourinho said Cesc Fabregas would return against Derby, when Cech, who has not started since April's clash with Swansea after finishing last season with a shoulder injury, will hope to retain his place.

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