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Mata, Torres, and Azpilicueta could all miss Chelsea's opener due to Ecuador/Spain friendly

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Jose Mourinho probably isn't making things better with the Spanish FA by pointing out just how stupid their (lack of) planning ahead of the new season was

Michael Regan

Earlier today, Graham touched on just how annoying it is when papers bury actual, real news to lead off their articles with transfer speculation. The funniest part about that point was that the same Mirror article burying the confirmation of loans for several Chelsea youngsters also buried some news about our potential squad for our Premier League opener.

Jose Mourinho has some concerns about the availability of trio of Chelsea players, as all of Cesar Azpilicueta, Juan Mata, and Fernando Torres could easily be dealing with jet lag. The reason? A ridiculous international friendly in Ecuador just days before the Premier League season kicks off:

"They will arrive in London on the Saturday, without having slept after a 15-hour journey, to train that morning. If a player plays for England on Wednesday against Scotland, plays for 45 minutes at Wembley and then an hour after the game he is at home in Cobham sleeping, he is in a better condition to play."

I've always hated it when we see pointless friendlies scheduled during the week leading up to the new season, but this particular friendly is far more pointless than most. With La Liga also kicking off on August 18, it would have been somewhat less ridiculous of the Spanish FA to schedule a friendly in Europe as opposed to one on the other side of the Atlantic, but the Spanish FA make their English counterparts look sensible by comparison.

While this will be mildly irritating for Chelsea fans, this could be far, far worse if the bulk of our team was away on this particular fundraising activity. The best case scenario here would probably be for both Barcelona and Real Madrid to come out ridiculously flat and lose, as unless they take issue with this sort of thing, it will just never be acted upon by the Spanish FA.

Update: I think we all knew that the Guardian is a better paper than the Mirror, and unsurprisingly they did a more thorough job of covering Mourinho's comments on the situation. Here's what they had:

"My lineup will depend a lot on which players go away with their national teams two days before the opening of the Premier League. 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. If a player plays for England on Wednesday against Scotland, let's say plays for 45 minutes at Wembley and then an hour after the game he is at home in Cobham sleeping, he is in a better condition to play. The team will be decided game after game and week after week."

"What happens before the Hull City game has an impact. Also, if we have to play against Aston Villa two or three days later – we still don't know when that will be [the game is still to be rescheduled, having been set for the weekend Chelsea play in the European Super Cup in Prague on 30 August] – I will have to think about two or three matches at the same time. If the game is postponed until two months later and I have only one match in a week, I will think differently. It depends on the situation."