Jose Mourinho has described Chelsea's injury situation as 'difficult' ahead of their clash with Southampton on New Year's Day.
The Blues' vital 2-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday came at a cost with defender Branislav Ivanovic and veteran midfielder Frank Lampard both forced off the ground with injuries, while enigmatic utility David Luiz is also out due to suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
While the return of Ramires will ease Mourinho's selection headaches, the former Inter and Real Madrid manager admits it is not an ideal situation to be in as they prepare to face one of the surprise packets of the Premier League this season.
"We lost David (Luiz) because of yellow cards, we lost Ivanovic and Lampard with injuries. We've recovered Ramires but we are still in a difficult situation," he said ahead of the game at St Mary's.
"(Southampton are) another team with good players who are influenced by the manager's culture in the way they play and the way they build. And they feel very comfortable at home so it is another very, very difficult match."
Compounding what is already a difficult trip to the south coast is the fact Southampton are near full-strength and despite Mauricio Pochettino's men not enjoying the form they showed early in the season they will be no pushovers, with Mourinho looking forward to the challenge.
"I had a quick look at their team selection and I think that only (Artur) Boruc and (Victor) Wanayama were not in the team - everyone else was," he said.
"So they must be in the maximum of their strength so it's a big game but it is good for us.
"We are in the top four - two points off the leader - so let's enjoy the 31st of (December) in the hotel."
Mourinho also stressed the importance of staying in the top four in what is one of the most congested Premier League tables in recent memory.
Just nine points separate first and eighth and with the Blues tracking far better than they were this time last year, the Portuguese manager is keen to keep his side near the top of the table.
"We are ok. Last year in this moment we were 12 points behind the leader so game over. In this moment we are two points behind so game on! Let's keep going," he said.
"We have to protect the top four because the top four this season will be a big achievement for anyone.
"And if we can protect the top four let's see what we can do and let's see if Manchester City kills everybody or if they stay close to all of us."
|Coach: M. Pochettino|
for L. Shaw 46'
for J. Cork 61'
for S. Davis 76'
|Mourinho has ´got to grips´ with United - Ferguson|
|Uganda v Mali: A lot at stake for Mali in shot-shy showdown|
|Napoli 1 Fiorentina 0: Callejon heads Partenopei into semi-finals|
|Bordeaux 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Cavani, Di Maria secure final berth|
|Watzke: Dortmund would consider €80m for Aubameyang|
|Togo 1 DR Congo 3: Kabananga´s goal streak continues as Ibenge´s men top group|
|Morocco 1 Ivory Coast 0: Alioui stunner sends holders crashing out|
|Romeu earns Southampton extension as Puel targets away goal|
|Sunderland striker Anichebe out for up to 10 weeks|
|Elneny wants to be an Arsenal legend ´like Thierry Henry´|
|Corini leaves Palermo as Ballardini is tipped for fourth return|
|Hernandez leaves Leicester for Malaga|
|Lukas PodGOALski...Gala forward nets five amid J-League links|
|CAS rejects Serbian appeal against Kosovo UEFA membership|
|Thiago back in Bayern training as Arsenal showdown looms|
|Thiago back in Bayern training as Arsenal showdown looms|
|Shearer´s Toon Army ´trump´ the POTUS|
|Rooney´s record may stand forever - Ferguson|
|Carrick expects full-strength United as Wembley return beckons|
|They insulted his mother and then there were monkey noises - Cyprien on Bastia Balotelli abuse|
|No Chelsea regrets for Sampaoli as Sevilla mount title challenge|
|Egypt v Ghana: Cuper backs Elneny to deliver in crucial Group D clash|
|James adds to Zidane´s injury woes at Madrid|
|Zidane wants fans behind Madrid after latest Ronaldo whistles|
|Mason ´continues to make excellent progress´|
|Allegri slams ´stupidity´ surrounding Buffon referee hug|
|Niang in talks over AC Milan exit, confirms Montella|
|Sunderland sign Lescott|
|China-bound Ramos completes loan switch to Granada|
|Rahman to miss ´several months´|
|Leekens quits after Algeria´s AFCON exit|
|Jese has firm Premier League offer, claims Las Palmas president|
|´I´m blessed with golden genes´ - Adebayor insists he is ready for new Premier League chance|
|Messi renewal progressing ´very, very well´ - Robert|
|Neuer expects Clement success at Swansea|
|Klopp calls for Liverpool enjoyment|
|Mustafi talks up Arsenal belief|
|Van Basten still against offside, slams ´nonsense in the media´|
|Rakitic dreaming of career-long Barcelona stay|
|Toure inspired by Ibrahimovic as he explains Chinese Super League snub|
|Kasperczak committed to attacking approach as Tunisia reach AFCON quarters|
|Slimani wants Algeria youngsters to learn from AFCON humiliation|
|Senegal 2 Algeria 2: Slimani at the double as Desert Warriors bow out|
|Zimbabwe 2 Tunisia 4: First-half glut seals progression|
|Adrian: I always wanted to return to Villarreal|
|Togo v DR Congo: Agassa could miss crucial game after vandals hit home|
|Extended Southampton stay on the cards for Sims|
|Bayern hoping for speedy Vidal return|
|Hull sign Markovic on loan from Liverpool|
|Wenger charged with misconduct by FA|
|Deulofeu joins AC Milan - and this time the deal is definitely done!|
|Henderson still playing through pain, reveals Klopp|
|Record-breaking Rooney reveals secret to longevity|
|No ulterior motive behind Van Dijk captaincy call - Puel|
|Carroll ignoring want-away Payet|
|Gerrard´s managerial ambitions ´wonderful news for Liverpool´ - Klopp|
|PSG interested in Guedes, confirms Emery|
|Barca lose Busquets to sprained ankle|
|Pulisic commits to Dortmund until 2020|
|Mason speaking after suffering fractured skull|
|Aubameyang blames poor preparation for Gabon AFCON exit|
|David Beckham returns to PSG|
|Morocco v Ivory Coast: Holders must beat old boss Renard as group reaches thrilling conclusion|
|Djilobodji charged over Fletcher incident|
|Cahill and Terry visit Mason in hospital|
|Allardyce onto second-choice transfer targets|
|Dortmund sign teenager Isak|
|Madrid confirm Modric and Marcelo injury blows|
|Vidal fears longer lay-off, targets return against Arsenal|
|Yaya Toure: Sterling should have dived!|
|Turan wants to see out Barcelona contract despite China talk|
|Impassioned Ibrahimovic attacks Rooney´s critics|
|´He has to lose weight´ – Mihajlovic angry after dropping Maxi Lopez|
|Lack of Liverpool signings frustrates Klopp|
|Suarez: Busquets difficult to replace for Barca|
|Depay impresses Lyon after debut|
|CSL? Rooney committed to United|
|Denis Suarez wants more goals after opening Barca account|
|Simeone bemoans inconsistency but says Atletico are improving|
|Mourinho won´t stand in the way of Rooney and CSL|
|Dzeko on target as Roma stay on Juve´s tail|
|Rakitic ready to cover for injured Busquets|
|Bale and Kane wish Mason well after serious injury|
|Busquets injury less severe than feared - Luis Enrique|