Jose Mourinho has expressed his dissatisfaction with the impact that the midweek international schedule has had on his Chelsea squad.
The Premier League leaders host Tottenham on Saturday but the Portuguese manager claims that his pre-match preparations have been disrupted by the intrusion of international call-ups.
Eden Hazard has been able to shake off the ankle injury he sustained while representing Belgium, but David Luiz will miss the visit of Tim Sherwood’s side after suffering a knock in Brazil’s 5-0 triumph over South Africa.
With Ashley Cole having injured his knee in training, Mourinho was left to rue the consequences of having a squad full of players who regularly play for their country.
“Hazard is good (but) we have some other problems,” he said. “Ashley Cole got an injury in training yesterday (Thursday) and is out of the game.
“We want always to respect the desire and pride of players.
“They go to their national teams and come back with problems. David is one of these examples, he missed some important matches for us, goes to the national team and comes back injured.
“It was just a week so I just wait for them a few days. After a game on Wednesday, with some going to other continents, we cannot train properly.”
Chelsea boast an impressive record against Tottenham, who have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
That run stretches back over 26 matches but Mourinho insists that it will have little impact on Saturday’s game.
“(The record is) merely a coincidence because Tottenham is a good team,” he added.
“They are always a difficult opponent. I don’t remember having an easy match against Tottenham.
“The biggest threat for that top four position is Tottenham as they are fifth.
“If you get a result against them, getting (into) the top four is going in a very good direction.
“They were a good team with (former boss) Andre (Villas-Boas) and they are a good team with the new manager.”