Will Jose Mourinho make a mistake in fielding a weak team against Sporting?

Jose Mourinho is set to name a weakened starting XI for Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Sporting CP.

The Blues have already topped their group, but Sporting will be going for the win with the fight for second place wide open.

Head coach Jose Mourinho has already confirmed that he will be fielding a weakened team in the fixture, with John Terry, Eden Hazard and Willian set to miss out, and, whilst the highly-touted debut of Ruben Loftus-Cheek will likely be as a substitute, the Portuguese coach is set to recall Mohamed Salah, Kurt Zouma and Filipe Luis into his starting XI.

Even as a weakened side there is no doubting that the Blues have enough to easily see off Sporting, and a victory should be a formality, however, would Mourinho have been wiser to field his full-strength side as they look to recover from their defeat to Newcastle.

The Blues stuttered to a 2-1 loss, and the fluidity associated with the side had all-but disappeared at St James’ Park. The side that was put out fell to their first defeat of the season, and Mourinho will be keen to see his side recover with a convincing win over their Lisbon-based opponents. However, should they win, the majority of that side who fell to defeat won’t be there to receive the confidence boost needed for the return of the Premier League this weekend.

A convincing win for a full-strength Blues side would have been the perfect antidote for the Newcastle loss, but a number of players culpable for that loss - Willian and John Obi Mikel are prime candidates - will miss out to rue their mistakes from the sidelines.

Whilst the argument that it gives the rested players a fitness boost for the Premier League is true, morale can be a more important aspect than fatigue in over the Christmas period, and the loss to Newcastle could prove to be the turning-point in the West Londoners’ season. Should their weak side lose to Sporting tonight, two consecutive losses will bring down the side, and they will head into the tie with Hull City on Saturday in a fragile mindset - knowing that a loss could see Manchester City move equal on points with the Premier League winners elect.

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