Jose Mourinho may start Chelsea’s Premier League season without the Spanish trio of Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata.
Torres, Azpilicueta and Mata look set to be back in London 24 hours before the team’s first fixture against Hull City on August 18 should they take part in Spain’s friendly with Ecuador.
Despite television coverage allowing Chelsea an extra day to prepare for the Hull game compared to some of the club’s Premier League rivals, Mourinho has hinted that the players are unlikely to feature against Steve Bruce’s men.
“My line-up will depend a lot on which players go away with their national teams two days before the opening of the Premier League,” he said.
“If one has to go to Ecuador and comes back and arrives in London on Saturday without having slept after a 15-hour flight, coming in to train on Saturday morning, I don’t think he is going to play on Sunday.”
Mourinho, though, will be buoyed by the depth of his squad, which contains plenty of talented youngsters keen to impress.
One such player is 20-year-old defender Tomas Kalas, who joined from Sigma Olomouc in 2010, but has spent the last two years on loan at Vitesse Arnhem.
“It was the first day of training when Mr Mourinho came to me and asked me if I would accept the challenge to be a first-team player and give it everything and, of course, I accepted,” he said.
“I hope I am ready but now I have to prove myself.”
Chelsea are currently away on a tour of Asia and having won their first two fixtures, they will now face Indonesia All-Stars in Jakarta on Thursday, before flying to America for the next leg of their pre-season preparations.