Chelsea have suffered a setback on the eve of the Premiership season with the news that captain John Terry will miss the opening few weeks of the new campaign.
Terry, who will be out for a month after damaging knee ligaments in training, joins a growing injury list at Stamford Bridge that includes Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, Salomon Kalou, Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko, Wayne Bridge and Paolo Ferreira.
“It was not easy to prepare for this game,” said Blues boss Jose Mourinho after watching his side lose on penalties to Manchester United in Sunday’s Community Shield.
Mourinho’s situation was not helped by keeper Petr Cech, Glen Johnson, Florent Malouda and Shaun Wright-Phillips all picking up injuries before half-time against United.
Terry’s injury appears to be the main concern and he is expected to miss the league games against Birmingham, Reading and Liverpool as well as England’s crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia in September.
“I am very happy with the players who took part,” said Mourinho.
“When you ask me about John Terry and Didier Drogba or Michael Ballack, Salomon Kalou or Claude Makelele – all of the boys who were not here – I don’t want to go in that direction because I want to respect the players I had against Manchester United.
“They played very well for me and I prefer to speak about them instead of the players not involved in the game.
“I now have to analyse the picture for the next two weeks to make my decisions in relation to the three matches we have to play against Birmingham, Reading and Liverpool.
“When the injured players are back, they are back. But I am ready to go, like I was on Sunday, ready to go to the fight with the boys who played.
“I am happy with them. I work with them, I play with them and I trust them, so no problems.”