Jose Mourinho has refused to disclose whether Radamel Falcao or Loic Remy will start for Chelsea at Newcastle in the absence of Diego Costa.
Costa begins a three-match suspension handed to him retrospectively by the Football Association for clashing with Laurent Koscielny in Chelsea’s win over Arsenal last weekend.
Mourinho says Chelsea – the banned Costa and injured Thibuat Courtois aside – go into Saturday evening’s match with a full squad after Willian was passed fit.
When questioned who would play up front in Costa’s absence, Mourinho would only say: “I have no doubt about the quality of my three strikers.
“All my strikers are very good players. The motivation for players is to try and play every time.
“But I don’t think facing his old club Newcastle is any extra motivation for Remy.”
Newcastle go into the match in the Premier League’s relegation zone after a torrid start to the season, but Mourinho is refusing to underestimate his opponents given he’s yet to taste victory at St James’ Park.
“It is a difficult league. Newcastle lost to Watford and West Ham; they are good teams. The distance between these teams and the others is getting smaller. This is the new reality.”
The form of Kurt Zouma has been a major plus for Chelsea this season and Mourinho was quick to praise his versatility.
“He has a strong mentality, but he is also a very humble guy,” Mourinho said of the 20-year-old.
“Kurt’s best position is centre-back but he can play midfield and left-back and is important because of that.”