Thibaut Courtois admits that if Chelsea can beat Manchester United on Sunday they will be back back on track in the title race. But a loss at Stamford Bridge to his former boss Jose Mourinho will signal the end to their title defence.
“City are nine points ahead of us, United four, Tottenham just one.” Courtois said. “So if you want, this game is a must-win game to remain at the top and remain close to the other teams.
“We will try to get the three points at home and we will give our lives for it on Sunday.”
Courtois believes injuries and an increased workload are catching up with the the players that cruised to Premier League success last season.
Courtois also believes that injury to key players have contributed immensely to the Blues’ patchy form.
N’Golo Kante and Victor Moses remains on the sidelines. Danny Drinkwater, signed from Leicester in August, was injured until last month. Other new signings, Bakayoko and Rudiger are still adapting to the league. Eden Hazard is only recovering from the ankle injury he suffered in the summer.
Alvaro Morata and Pedro have had their fair share of injuries too.
Having sold Nemanja Matic to United in the summer, the Blues are equally missing their workhorse, N’golo Kante.
The PFA player of the year has been absent through injury but returned earlier in the week.
Coach, Antonio Conte decided against risking the French midfielder in the Champions League loss to Roma on Tuesday, despite the dynamism and protection he gives to the Chelsea defence.
“N’Golo Kante was important for us and brings a lot of balance into the team.” Courtois said. “But you cannot push him if he does not feel ready.
“Danny Drinkwater was out a long time as well so Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko played a lot of games and that impacts on their legs.
“So it’s harder for them to keep up the pressure, especially against the three midfielders as Roma played with.”
On the most asked question this week;
Why did Chelsea sell Matic?
Courtois said: “If a player nowadays wants to go to a team, then he has – I don’t want to say the power – but if he has a strong will to leave and join another team then it is hard for the club.
“You cannot just ignore him and say ‘you cannot leave’ because then you have a disappointed player who won’t play at his best.
“So obviously for us you give a player to another big team, but they are choices that are made in football and we have some quality midfielders.
“So I hope we can show on Sunday that we are better.”