Chelsea have four options to replace the injured Branislav Ivanovic in defence, Jose Mourinho has said ahead of Saturday’s game against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
The defender suffered a hamstring injury while in international action for Serbia against Albania and is expected to be out for around three weeks.
Aside from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – who is sidelined with a long-term knee injury – Ivanovic, 31, is the ony injury absence for the Villa clash.
“We have only the Ivanovic injury and Courtois recovering – everybody else is available,” said Mourinho.
“I have four solutions. I have Cesar Azpilicueta, I have the adaptation of Kurt Zouma or Ramires and I have Ola Aina. He is 18 years old and has never played a game in the Premier League, but he is a boy with lots of potential and he is also an option.
“I have not ordered those in preference. It depends on the matches, the opponents, the moment, but we do have solutions.”
Mourinho also reiterated that 19-year-old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek was ready to play a key role following Chelsea’s poor start to the season, which has seen them win only two of their first eight games in defence of their Premier League title.
“Ruben is with us since January working every day having the opportunity to play some matches,” added the Portuguese boss.
“He is evolving physically, mentally, tactically and is going to be a really top player. He can start – he is ready.”
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