Jose Mourinho has justified his decision to leave new signing Papy Djilobodji out of his squad to contest the group stages of the Champions League. The Chelsea manager also claims it was not his choice to pursue the defender during the latter stages of the recent transfer window, with the deal seemingly done on the recommendation of a trustworthy source who previously advised on the purchase of Kurt Zouma.
No shortage of eyebrows were raised when the current Premier League champions, frustrated with their inability to entice Everton into parting with John Stones, completed a £4m ($6.1m) deal to sign Djilobodji from Nantes on deadline day before also acquiring fellow centre-back Michael Hector and immediately loaning him back to Reading. According to the Mail, the 26-year-old was previously linked with the likes of Celta Vigo and Crystal Palace and may also have ended the summer as a Championship player following interest from Queens Park Rangers.
Questions over his ability to fulfil anything other than a peripheral role behind John Terry, Gary Cahill, Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic were further exacerbated last week when the Senegalese international was not included in the club's 25-man selection for European duty. That decision could leave Chelsea a little short in defensive areas for Group G ties against Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Porto and Dynamo Kiev, although it appears Mourinho has instead chosen to prioritise the development of two promising young attacking players.
"(Djilobodji) not in Champions League squad because, if he is, Kenedy and (Bertrand) Traore not on list. If they are not, you ask why. CL good for their development. We will be very unlucky if in six matches we need Djilobodji in team. One thing is short competition, another domestic season."
On the deal itself, he added: "Was not my choice. Was the choice of someone I trust completely. That's the same thing. The same person that told me Djilobodji could be fantastic squad player for us is same who said Zouma could be fantastic."
In addition to confirming that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set for an extended spell on the sidelines as he prepares to undergo surgery on a knee injury suffered in training following his return from international duty earlier this week, Mourinho also hinted that Radamel Falcao could start at Goodison Park. He did, however, decline to offer any new insight on the Stones saga as his side prepare to face the England man this weekend for the first time since Chelsea saw four bids for his services rejected before the transfer deadline.