Courtois left out to avoid risk of fatigue

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said he removed Thibaut Courtois from the starting line-up to face Everton due to mental fatigue.

His replacement, Petr Cech, produced two fine saves either side of half-time from former team-mate Romelu Lukaku, before Chelsea snatched a late winner through Willian.

Mourinho also revealed skipper John Terry almost missed the game through illness – another factor behind his decision to start Cech.

He said: “Courtois played consecutive matches – Liverpool, Man City, Aston Villa – matches that the goalkeeper has to be very focused. Even when he doesn’t touch the ball, the focus has to be permanent.

“A goalkeeper can be fatigued, in the nervous system. Petr was working really hard in every training session, his condition was good and I believed it was best for the team, also in terms of leadership.

Blues skipper Terry was ill and almost missed the game
Blues skipper Terry was ill and almost missed the game

“John Terry was ill in the morning, he was probably out of the game until the last moment, so I thought Petr’s personality and communication would benefit our side.

“He touched the ball twice. He was virtually a spectator. But the save in the first half is a very good save and in the second half it’s a super save.”

Mourinho was also delighted with the way his side plugged away against an Everton team who dug in well and had their own goalkeeping hero in Tim Howard, who made several fine stops.

Willian’s 89th-minute winner maintained Chelsea’s seven-point lead at the top of the table, with 13 games to play.

Mourinho said: “Everton were very well organised defensively, Lukaku attacked the spaces.

“They were a very difficult opponent, so I’m happy with the three points.”

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