Gary Cahill has been taken out of the line of fire by Jose Mourinho, who will rest the defender who was accused of diving for Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup quarter-final at Derby.
Programming note: For viewers in the USA, you can watch Chelsea against Derby in the Capital One Cup quarter-final live only on beIN SPORTS and DishWorld at 2:45pm ET Tuesday.
Hull boss Steve Bruce accused Cahill of simulation – “like something out of Swan Lake”, the Tigers boss said – following Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Bruce felt Cahill should have been shown a second yellow card.
The England centre-back will be replaced by Kurt Zouma for the trip to Derby, even though Blues manager Mourinho has vowed to field “the best possible team”.
“We’re going to play against a top team in the Championship,” Mourinho told Chelsea TV.
“The difference between a top team in the Championship and the teams of the Premier League are very, very small. We played there last year and it was not an easy game.
“We have no reason to rest people. Everybody goes. The only one that is not going because he played against Sporting (Lisbon) – I never gave him a break – is Cahill.
“Cahill doesn’t play, I play Zouma.”
It is a decision which may have been taken ahead of the diving storm when Chelsea had Diego Costa and Willian booked for simulation.
Cahill is due a rest as he was not one of the six players switched out of the side for last week’s Champions League match with Sporting Lisbon.
But the timing is convenient for Mourinho, who last season lambasted Luis Suarez for an “acrobatic swimming pool jump” as he railed against simulation in English football.
He also insisted “there are no divers at Chelsea” following Oscar’s booking for simulation at Southampton on January 1.
Prior to the Hull contest, Mourinho insisted none of his players would be ever-presents over the congested Christmas schedule.
The Derby match is Chelsea’s fourth fixture of December and they now play six games in 19 days until their FA Cup third-round tie with Watford on January 4.
“I don’t think one player is going to play these six matches,” Mourinho said. “Every one of them has to go to five, the ones that play more they have to go to five; one (game) rest I think I have to give them.