Facing Stoke City on Saturday without manager Jose Mourinho inside the stadium will be a “strange” experience, according to Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic.
In the latest chapter of a turbulent season for Mourinho, the Chelsea boss will serve the one-match stadium ban handed down by the Football Association for his half-time confrontation with referee Jon Moss during last month’s 2-1 loss at West Ham.
Matic’s red card shortly before the interval at Upton Park sparked the angry scenes and the Serbia international concedes that the upshot of Mourinho watching this weekend’s Britannia Stadium clash remotely – most likely from Chelsea’s team hotel – could hinder the ailing defending champions.
“I’ve been here [at Chelsea] almost two years and we have not played without a coach yet, so it is going to be strange,” Matic told reporters.
“Of course it is easier when the coach is on the bench and especially at half-time when he can say something.
“But we also have other great coaches and they will be prepared for everything, and we have to be ready for that.”
Chelsea returned to winning ways against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday but last weekend’s 3-1 loss at home to Liverpool was their sixth defeat in 11 Premier League matches this season.
Last week, Stoke knocked holders Chelsea out of the League Cup on penalties.