World Cup fatigue will stop Chelsea from fielding their strongest lineup for the first three matches of the new season, according to Jose Mourinho.
The Chelsea boss will not rush his six World Cup stars, who have had precious little club preparation, back into Premier League action.
Germany's Andre Schurrle, Brazil trio Oscar, Willian and Ramires and Belgian pair Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have missed most of Chelsea's preseason after their World Cup exploits.
Mourinho admitted being forced to wait patiently while a host of senior stars shake off their summer exertions is simply a fact of football life.
"This is modern football," Mourinho said ahead of Monday night's trip to Burnley. "It's going in this tendency -- more matches, more competitions, less time to work, even not enough time to have a real holiday for bodies and brains that top football players need. There's not enough time.
"In our case we had a group that had good holiday and a good pre-season, then we had another group because Spain was out in the group phase, and that allowed us to get five players before we expected.
"So that was good and created a medium group -- but the final group is very late.
Mourinho went on to say that many of his side's players were not individually ready, but that the team would still be ready for their Monday match vs. Burnley.
The Portuguese manager admitted he will have his work cut out to appease rival goalkeepers Courtois and Petr Cech, but vowed to foster competition between the duo.
The Stamford Bridge boss said he would underline his unstinting faith in both stoppers by handing both stars opportunities in high-stakes matches.
"I cannot kill competition, I cannot close the door for someone to get into the team," he said. "And I cannot give a player, even a goalkeeper, guarantees that he is my first choice forever, if he doesn't perform.
"Obviously you cannot change a goalkeeper if he makes a mistake, but you can change a goalkeeper if he makes five mistakes. And so what is my first choice today cannot be my first choice tomorrow, it depends on performance. But if the goalkeeper gives stability to the team then I don't see a reason to change."