World Cup fatigue will stop Chelsea fielding their strongest line-up 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 Barclays 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 pre-season 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 a 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.
"Are they ready individually? No.
"But we have to be ready as a team for Monday.
"Can it be a team of six guys not ready? No.
"It must be a team with the majority of the players that had a proper pre-season and they are in a better condition.
"So we have to make options, and probably the team to play the first two or three matches is more about the team that is ready."
Mourinho has 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.
"I don't do, 'You are the keeper in this competition, you are the keeper in that competition'.
"I must support the keeper who is not first choice, and to support him is not to give him a Capital One Cup game.
"Supporting him is showing him my trust: when nobody is expecting.
"I remember I did that with Petr and (ex-Chelsea keeper Carlo) Cudicini, I played Cudicini against (Real) Betis in the Champions League in the first game of the group, not in the sixth where we were qualified, in the first.
"So the best way to show a player you trust him is to play him when nobody expects and in games of responsibilities.
"And with these two goalkeepers I can do that when I want."