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Preview: Chelsea v Maribor

Chelsea FC's José Mourinho is refusing to underestimate NK Maribor as the Slovenian champions arrive in London determined to cause an upset according to Ante Šimundža.

Hazard revels in Chelsea win
Hazard revels in Chelsea win

Chelsea, on four Group G points, welcome a Maribor side just two adrift
José Mourinho confirms absence of Diego Costa, Ramires, John Obi Mikel and André Schürrle
Mourinho points to Maribor's eight-game unbeaten run in the competition this season
 Visitors without any injury concerns ahead of matchday three
 Ante Šimundža says his side will play in a positive manner

Possible lineups
ChelseaCourtois; Ivanović, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matić, Fàbregas; Willian, Hazard, Oscar; Rémy.
Out: Diego Costa (hamsting), Ramires (groin), Schürrle (illness), Mikel (foot)
Doubtful: Drogba (fitness)

Maribor: Handanovič; Šuler, Filipović, Mejač, Rajčevič, Viler; Ibraimi, Vršič, Bohar, Mertelj; Tavares.

José Mourinho, Chelsea manager
I don't have Manchester United in mind. I have Maribor in mind. I don't rest players. We have to think about this game, not the one in Slovenia. It's important to win, yes. The group is not an easy one to win. Sporting are a good team and are playing better and better. Schalke are a good team now that Roberto is the new coach, motivation is high. [They're a] dangerous team.

Maribor have had eight matches in the Champions League [this season] and zero defeats. Celtic – didn't lose. Sporting – didn't lose. Schalke in Germany – didn't lose. When I studied them, I understood why they didn't lose.

José Mourinho has plenty of respect for Maribor
José Mourinho has plenty of respect for Maribor©AFP/Getty Images

So we have four points. It's not bad. But we need seven out of these three matches. Not to qualify, because with seven you are far from being qualified, but seven gives you a little bit of stability for the second part.

I have only one challenge: my challenge is to win tomorrow. I think about what comes tomorrow and that's the way I do it.

I think every English team in the Champions League will have it difficult, especially because when the Champions League starts the knockout phase – hopefully all the four teams are there – at that moment all the English teams will be paying the consequences of our winter fixtures. The German teams and the Spanish teams will be back from winter holidays so in much better condition to compete.

Ante Šimundža, Maribor coach
Our mentality is to win. To play offensively. We always try to go for the win, but we will not be pushing without thinking. We want to find our positive side and their negative side – and hopefully get a result. Chelsea are a very competitive team in every minute and every second of every game. They know what to do and their results show how competitive they are. We know it will be difficult to find a weakness, but we will do our best to find it.

Diego Costa is injured, but others will come in. Chelsea are the most competitive team in England at the moment. It will be fun to see how they prepare. How they are ready for us. They know us very well; we know them very well. We have to be honest and say that Chelsea are the favourites, but we have our aims too. A positive result. A win? Why not? We have to be at our top level to achieve that.

We know that the team and José Mourinho are at the highest level possible. Chelsea are always preparing for every opponent individually and this gives them that special quality. Every team has strengths and weaknesses and Chelsea are no exception, but they have many more strengths than weaknesses. We will try to play in a way that they will not find easy.

Weekend results
Crystal Palace FC 1-2 Chelsea (Campbell 90; Oscar 6, Fàbregas 51)
Maribor 1-2 NK Celje (Zahovič 30; Rajčevič og 6, Omoregie 65)

Form guide (all competitions)
Chelsea: WWWWWD
Maribor: LWDDDW

Match facts
• Maribor won 2-1 at home against the last English side they faced in Europe – who were they? Find out in our extensive match background.