Belfast Telegraph

Salah lacking fitness - Gharib

Midfielder Mo Salah's lack of game-time with Chelsea means he is not fit enough to inspire the Egypt national team, according to Pharaohs coach Shawky Gharib.

Salah, signed from Basle last January for £11million, has yet to feature for Chelsea in the new domestic season, which Gharib believes meant the 22-year-old lacked sharpness as Egypt lost 2-0 against Senegal in African Nations Cup qualifying on Friday.

"We had many mistakes in passing the ball and we failed to put the required pressure on our opponents, but the defenders are not the only ones to be blamed," Gharib said, reported by Ahram Online Sports.

"The poor fitness of the players, especially Chelsea's Mohamed Salah, is also a reason for the loss.

"The Egyptian league hasn't started yet and also Salah didn't play regularly with Chelsea. If Salah is off-form, Egypt's performance is always affected."

Forward Diego Costa, who has scored four goals in his three games since a £32million summer move from Atletico Madrid, faces an assessment on the hamstring injury which forced him to miss Spain's Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League match against Swansea.

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