Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed John Terry, Radamel Falcao and a number of fringe players will play in the League Cup game against Walsall on 23 September, with him making changes to the line-up that beat Arsenal. The Portuguese boss, nevertheless, said he has a lot of respect for the League One side.
The Blues start the defence of the League Cup after beating Tottenham Hotspur to the trophy in the final last season. But with Chelsea needing to get three points in their next Premier League game at Newcastle United on (26 September) the manager will be rotating his players.
"It's a good opportunity for the people who are not playing so much and so it's important for them that you win and you play again, because if you don't play again there are fewer opportunities for some players to play," he said to Chelsea's official website.
Former Manchester United striker Falcao will enjoy his first starting appearance for Chelsea, replacing Diego Costa, who will miss the next three next games after the Football Association charged him for violent conduct after shoving the face of Laurent Koscielny during the victory over Arsenal. Terry, meanwhile, will return to the line-up after being benched in the last two games following the side's poor start to the campaign.
"Of course John's experience will help. He didn't play the last match so he is completely fresh and completely motivated to play, the same as Falcao for example," the manager explained. "Chelsea is Chelsea, and wearing the Chelsea shirt always brings responsibility. Every player is more than happy to play."
The likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ramires, Abdul Rahman Baba and Bertrand Traore may also feature but Mourinho insists deploying his fringe players does not mean a lack of respect for the opposition as the Blues are expected to fight for four competitions (Premier League, Champions League, League Cup and FA Cup) this season.
"I don't see reasons to throw away any competition. A cup is a cup. A trophy is a trophy. If you lose, you lose but you don't need to throw it away," he said. "So yes, we look to the competition in a proper way, and I also think it's very important to respect opponents. I don't think opponents from the Championship, League One or League Two expect the big clubs to go and play against them without the best players."
"They want a big day for themselves. Imagine if we go to Walsall without any one of our most important players – even if they won I don't think the feeling would be the same. For Walsall players and Walsall supporters, it's important the big teams show that respect and that commitment.
"In the FA Cup, we lost against a League One club [Bradford], which can happen. Walsall are a good team. They are playing well and trying to be promoted. For them it's a big occasion and as I was saying, it's important to respect them and to go with a good team with the desire to win."