- Premier League
World Cup stars' fitness worries Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is concerned that several of his players who featured in the latter stages of the World Cup will not be match-fit for the start of the Premier League season.
Mourinho saw forward Andre Schurrle win the final with Germany on July 13, five days after Brazilian trio Willian, Oscar and Ramires were knocked out at the semi-final stage by the eventual champions.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has got a similar problem, confirming at the weekend that Robin van Persie, who played under van Gaal in Brazil as Netherlands reached the semi-finals, is unlikely to feature in the club's league opener at home to Swansea City because he will not be physically ready.
Stuttgart sign Romeu
- Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu has joined Stuttgart on a season-long loan from Chelsea, the Premier League club have announced.
- A statement on the club's official website read: "Oriol Romeu has joined Stuttgart on a season-long loan.
- "The midfielder, 22, who recently signed a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge, heads to the German top flight.
- "The Spaniard moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2011 from Barcelona, and has so far made 33 Chelsea appearances. He spent last season on loan at Valencia."
Mourinho, speaking after his side lost a friendly against Bundesliga side Werder Bremen 3-0, could make a similar decision for some of his World Cup players for his first match of the new campaign against Burnley on August 18.
"Eden [Hazard] trained two days, Didier [Drogba] trained three days," Mourinho told Chelsea TV. "They need these matches to look for their form.
"It worries me because the boys [returning late from the World Cup] that start tomorrow don't have time to get ready for the start of Premier League.
"We cannot deny that our first half was poor. The reaction was good in the second half. Eden brought something to the game."
The Portuguese coach added: "It was important for [Cesc] Fabregas to get 90 minutes, that was a positive sight and it's important.
"[Thibaut] Courtois is the same as the others, two days' training and playing today for 45 minutes, he needs to play, we don't have lots of time. It's only two weeks until the start of the season so we gave him and Petr [Cech] 45 minutes each, the next match in Turkey it will be the same."
Hazard, a World Cup quarter-finalist with Belgium, made his first pre-season appearance against Werder Bremen, and admitted he had taken his mind off the game during his post-tournament break.
"I enjoyed one month [off] - it was easy. I didn't' think about football, but now I'm back. We will try to win [our next match] and give the best to be ready for the first game."