Jose Mourinho is confident his Chelsea defence can nullify the threat of in-form Harry Kane even if John Terry fails to recover in time to face London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Mourinho’s side head to White Hart Lane after keeping two confidence-boosting clean sheets, first in last weekend’s victory over Norwich City and then in the midweek Champions League success at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Terry limped out of the game in Israel and the Blues captain remains doubtful for the Spurs clash, when Chelsea will attempt to record back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season.
A victory in north London will strengthen Mourinho’s belief his side have turned the corner after a disastrous start to the campaign that has left them in 15th position.
Their hopes of gaining revenge for the 5-3 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season will be enhanced if they can prevent Kane from extending a scoring streak that has brought the Tottenham striker nine goals in his last six club games.
And Chelsea manager Mourinho has no doubts a patched up central-defensive pairing of Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma can keep England international Kane quiet if Terry is unfit.
“I have complete trust in Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma, which is why in an important match for us on Tuesday I left Kurt out after the good performances he is having to show Gary that confidence. They are ready,” Mourinho said.
“I am not saying Papy Djilobodji is ready because he did not have chances to play and his is a different situation, but Zouma and Cahill are both ready and if John doesn’t play, I go with them.
“I don’t know about John. I don’t want to say that it is impossible he plays because maybe he plays and people will say that I was hiding it and I am not hiding.
“Today he didn’t train but we have a little hope that it is possible.
“Ramires is the same situation as John, I don’t know, let’s wait and see. He has a chance.”
– Unfair – Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are unbeaten in the league since their opening-day defeat at Manchester United and come into the game on the back of a 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag on Thursday.
The effects of making a long journey to Azerbaijan have caused concern for Pochettino, who claims it is unfair Chelsea could take advantage of their extra two days rest.
But left-back Danny Rose remains confident Spurs can build on last weekend’s 4-1 victory against West Ham United.
“It needs to be the same again from us. Obviously Chelsea have had a difficult run but that doesn’t make them a bad team,” Rose said.
“They’ve got a world-class squad, a world-class manager and it’s a derby, so form goes out of the window.
“It’s going to be a difficult game but we just hope that we can perform and give the same energy and commitment as we did against West Ham. If we do that, it will be a difficult game for them.
“From our side, we’ve got a great sense of belief inside the changing room and inside the club, so as long as we keep doing what the head coach asks then we know we’ll be in for an exciting season.”
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The next page comes up...
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This center page comes up...