Cobham, United Kingdom: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on Tuesday expressed confidence that his side will overcome the loss of leading scorer Diego Costa when they host London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
Costa will be suspended after picking up a fifth booking of the season during the weekend's goalless draw at Sunderland, but Mourinho believes his side can cope without their 11-goal marksman. "We don't speak about Diego," he told a press conference at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham, 17 miles (27 kilometres) southwest of London. "We trust (Loic) Remy and (Didier) Drogba the same way we trust Diego. This is not our way of work.
So forget Diego. We trust the other two and we go with the other two." Chelsea head into the mid-week matches six points clear of second-place Manchester City at the head of the Premier League table. Their failure to beat Sunderland, together with City's impressive 3-0 win at Southampton, suggested Mourinho's side may finally be about to come under pressure after cruising through the opening weeks of the season.
But he says there will be no over-reaction to the draw at the Stadium of Light and says the dropped points have not affected the confident mood at Stamford Bridge after the club's best ever start to a Premier League season. Asked about the reaction to the Sunderland result, he said: "Normal.
What do you want the team to do or feel when the team is doing a perfect season? "We are top of the league in the Premier League, top of the group in the Champions League, in the quarter-finals in the Capital One Cup, and haven't lost a match in four months.
"The team has to feel very, very well. When the defeat arrives, we have to feel the same way. We are doing things very, very well and it's not a bad result, when a bad result arrives, that is going to change our self-belief and self-esteem."
'Something they love'
Frank Lampard was prominent in City's win at Southampton, having moved to the Etihad Stadium on loan from American club New York City following his departure from Chelsea at the end of last season. Lampard was a key figure in the team that Mourinho constructed during his first spell as Chelsea manager between 2004 and 2007, but the Portuguese was reluctant to discuss the former England man's form at City.
"I don't speak about former players who play for a club with the same objectives as us," he said. "I'll only speak about former players who have finished their careers, like William Gallas. Frank only plays against us. I don't want to speak about it." Mourinho, meanwhile, believes that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will grow accustomed to the gruelling Christmas programme in English football.
Van Gaal has voiced unhappiness over United's intense festive schedule, but Mourinho said: "It's the first time for him, so the first time is always, not the most difficult, but the first time. "Next season it will be easier for him. And my way of making it easier for me is just to think what we are giving to the people.
"If you think in that direction, that we are giving not just in England but, through television, something to football fans all around the world, it's what they want and don't have. "It's very difficult for all of us, but we are special because we are giving to the people something they love: football."