Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and David Luiz all face a race against time to be fit for the coming season…
Jose Mourinho faces a headache as three key Chelsea players could be out for the first game of the Premier League season, The Guardian reports.
Two time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata is likely to be unfit, as is the club’s leading goalscorer of all time Frank Lampard. If Chelsea don’t sell Brazilian defender David Luiz to Barcelona, (they have already rejected a bid) the 26-year-old could miss the start of the season, too.
The trio have played limited minutes during pre-season, as the Chelsea staff have tried to nurse them back to full fitness in time for the Premier League opener against Hull City. 35-year-old Lampard is the primary concern, although the ageing midfielder will be expected to be used sparingly by Mourinho anyway this season. Mata and Luiz will be key players, and the Portuguese boss will be eager to get the pair firing on all cylinders as quickly as possible.
“The team with David Luiz and Mata is a better team. But again this is not a problem, we don’t risk players in pre season,” Mourinho said.
“Mata had a little thing, we didn’t take a risk. David had an injury from before the Europa League final and he still has little things with it, so we stop.”
The players will be crucial if Mourinho wants to repeat his first stint at Stamford Bridge, and win the title in his debut year.
Here’s how Chelsea could line up on the first day of the season if Mata, Lampard and Luiz fail to gain fitness in time: