Diego Costa will miss Chelsea’s midweek derby clash with Tottenham Hotspur after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Sunderland but manager Jose Mourinho seems unconcerned.
The striker, top scorer for the leaders with 11 Premier League goals this season, is suspended for Wednesday’s match at Stamford Bridge after being booked for catching Wes Brown in the face with his elbow in an aerial challenge during the second half.
“I was told he was unlucky to get the yellow card,” Mourinho told reporters. “We’ll play Loic Remy or Didier Drogba against Tottenham.
“We don’t cry about injured or suspended players. He can rest and be fresh for Newcastle (next Saturday) — it’s no problem.”
Chelsea are now seven points clear of second-placed Southampton, who meet third-placed Manchester City on Sunday, and Mourinho had no complaints about the goalless draw.
“My players tried everything, we took risks and in the last part of the game with people a little bit tired we gave away some space and Sunderland had a couple of chances,” he said. “I have nothing negative to say about my people.”
Sunderland, who knocked Chelsea out of the League Cup last season and also scored a shock away victory over Mourinho’s men, frustrated the Londoners by employing a blanket 10-man defence on Saturday.
Chelsea completely dominated possession but created few clear-cut chances while Costa was fortunate to escape a first-half booking when he kicked out at John O’Shea after Brown’s central defensive partner produced a fierce tackle from behind.
Manager Gus Poyet said Sunderland’s professional response to their 8-0 mauling by Southampton last month had laid the foundations for Saturday’s rearguard action as they became the first team to stop Chelsea scoring this season.
“We had a very bad day at the office that everyone remembers, and I can’t get it out of my head,” said former Chelsea midfielder Poyet, “so it was a matter of going back to basics.
“We have been doing it week in, week out now. I would like the team to enjoy defending like this.
“There aren’t too many people now that like to defend, everyone wants the ball and to play the Barcelona way and the Bayern Munich way. We know it is not possible for us so we need to do other things especially against top teams,” said Poyet.