Jose Mourinho will make wholesale changes tonight as Tottenham host Chelsea in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
The London derby comes just two days after Mourinho’s men drew 1-1 with Newcastle in the Premier League and only 48 hours before their Europa League play-off clash with Maccabi Haifa.
Despite the Portuguese manager’s desire to win the trophy for the fifth time in his career, Mourinho (pictured above) is ready to rest his stars at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He said: “I would like to fight for the Carabao Cup but I don’t think I can.
“It’s a competition [the Europa League] with a possible group phase that gives us a good chance to go through to the next knockout stage so this game on Thursday is very important for us.
“I think you can imagine that with a game on Thursday that decides a very important thing for us — I think the EFL made a decision for us.
“They didn’t even create a problem — they made a decision for us. So that’s the decision.”
Tottenham were spared a similar scenario last week when their third-round tie with Leyton Orient was postponed due to a number of positive coronavirus tests in the O’s squad.
But it means Chelsea, who have a good recent record against Spurs, will be handed a glorious chance to progress to the quarter-finals.
The Blues have won the past four meetings in all competitions against their London rivals, including the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final in 2018-19.
Frank Lampard fielded a strong XI as the hosts smashed six past Barnsley in round three and keeper Edouard Mendy could be handed his debut after joining from Rennes.
Ben Chilwell is also expected to be available after missing the 3-3 league draw with West Brom at the weekend but Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are not yet fit.
Did you know?
Chelsea’s four-game winning run over Spurs is their best since a run of six between January 2000 and January 2002.
Spurs are looking to reach their 25th League Cup quarter-final, with only Arsenal (currently 28) reaching more in the competition’s history.
Chelsea have reached at least the quarter-final of the League Cup in 13 of the last 19 campaigns.