Mourinho plans to give players rest

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will ensure all of his players get at least one game off in the frantic six-game run until the start of January.

The Premier League leaders face Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday, Derby County in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, and then a further four fixtures up to including playing Tottenham away on New Year’s Day.

And Mourinho has said he will have to rotate his squad – something he has been reluctant to do too much this season.

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who is suspended for Saturday’s match, has started all 15 league games this term, as has goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, whose muscle injury means he will also miss out against Hull.

Defenders John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, and Eden Hazard have also been ever present, while Hazard’s fellow midfielder Nemanja Matic has only missed one game.

Oscar and Cesar Azpilicueta have both missed just two matches and Diego Costa has started 12 despite his much-talked about injury problems.

“I don’t think one player will play these six matches. I think I have to give them one rest,” Mourinho said.

“We gave a rest to some players against Sporting and we are going to do this from now until the end of the month.

“We have two days off after the Derby game which allows the players to go home – not the South American ones because it’s far – but the ones around England like Belgium, France, Germany.

“They can go and have a nice dinner with their families. It’s the only two days I can give them. And after that they’re back on Friday to play on Monday against Stoke.”

After the trip to face the Potters on Monday week, the Blues host West Ham on Boxing Day and Southampton away two days later.

Before then Mourinho said all his focus was on Hull, who are third from bottom, having won just two league games this season.

And the Portuguese had no concerns about how his side will fare following last week’s loss away against Newcastle – the first defeat of the season.

“The response is to play and try to win every game,” Mourinho said.

“Results are results but what can you do more than we are doing which is playing very well, or well?

“There is not one single bad performance, there are good spirit and performances. We have nothing more to do than we are doing.”

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