Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois requires knee surgery and will be out for “quite a long time”, according to Jose Mourinho.
The Belgium international sustained the injury in training after returning from international duty and is now set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
It is another blow to Mourinho, whose side have made a slow start to the defence of their Premier League title by claiming just four points from their opening four games.
Mourinho said at Friday’s press conference: “Courtois was injured in a training session with the goalkeepers and I cannot tell you much, but I can tell you that he needs surgery in his right knee.
“As a consequence of that he’ll be out for quite a long time. I can’t be more specific now.”
Asmir Begovic, who joined Chelsea from Stoke in the close season, will deputise for Courtois and Mourinho is delighted to have such a reliable back-up option, adding: “It’s not easy to have the best goalkeeper injured, but it’s easy to have one of the best to play, and we have Begovic.
“Jamal [Blackman] becomes the second goalkeeper. He has no experience but he has potential.”
Chelsea go to Everton on Saturday hoping to register their second away win of the season, and Mourinho insisted it was not all doom and gloom at Stamford Bridge.
“We are strong, together. I believe in the players, they believe in me. We are positive,” he added.
“Every game is important. We are in the title race but we need points. We go with the intention to win the match.”
Oscar will miss the trip to Goodison Park through injury but Mourinho confirmed the Brazil midfielder could feature in Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv.