Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho expects Newcastle to serve up acid test for Chelsea

By Nick Purewal

Jose Mourinho believes Newcastle reserve the "game of their lives" for his Chelsea side, but "look like they are playing friendlies" against other Barclays Premier League rivals.

Mourinho will chase a first league win as Chelsea boss at St James' Park at lunchtime today, confirming Diego Costa will start up front after suspension.

Spain hitman Costa missed Wednesday's 3-0 Stamford Bridge victory over Tottenham, with Didier Drogba and Loic Remy both on target.

Even with the return of their prolific summer signing, though, Mourinho knows his runaway league leaders face a tough test at Newcastle - where the Blues can set a new club-record of 24 games without defeat.

"When they see the Chelsea shirts they play the game of their lives, and against other teams they look like they are playing friendlies," said Mourinho.

"It's difficult; it's a difficult stadium to play (in). Maybe this is because Chelsea in the last decade has become a strong team that everyone wants to beat."

Mourinho has already confirmed 36-year-old Drogba's long-term future is in his own hands at Chelsea, but said he cannot comment on the Ivorian's potential as a coach.

"I don't know his qualities as a coach because I never saw him coach," he said. "My personal story is that he is still a very good player, and if he wants my advice in the future I think he should stop when he wants, when he feels. Not be waiting for me to decide or the club to decide.

"We love him, we want him: he's a great football player and should stop when he wants."

Newcastle United v Chelsea, Premier League: St James' Park, 12.45pm (BT Sport)

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