Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has urged Diego Costa to channel his passion in a way that benefits, rather than detracts, from the team.
Fiery Spain striker Costa has scored twice in three Premier League appearances this season but has also been booked on two occasions, while last term he received 11 yellow cards and was sent off.
Chelsea travel to Swansea on Sunday seeking to continue their perfect start to the campaign with Costa set to spearhead the attack, but Conte insists he must do so while treading a careful line.
“Diego is a passionate man. For this reason he sometimes risks a yellow card,” Conte said.
“But I want him to improve in this aspect. I want to have Diego Costa in all the games. Diego knows the situation.
“I want him to play with the right passion and the right aggression. He must transfer his emotions on to the pitch in the right way. Always.
“I think that Diego is a good guy. He’s a player who is very important for the team. I tell him: ‘Transfer your passion and enthusiasm in the right way, and it’s good for me’.
“I like it when a player shows his passion for this sport. It’s fantastic. We do this work but, for us, it’s not work it’s a passion.
“It’s important to transfer this to our fans and all the people who watch the game. For us, this is not work.”
Conte on Costa’s form
Costa scored twice for Spain in an 8-0 World Cup qualifying win over Liechtenstein on Monday, helping ease the pressure he has felt from fans and media for his previous lack of impact on the international stage that culminated in his omission from the Euro 2016 squad.
The 27-year-old, who has also played for Brazil, recently expressed his frustration at his treatment by referees, but Conte insists he must forget any grudges.
“Diego must think about playing football on the pitch and about playing with Chelsea, to play with the national team in Spain,” Conte said.
“It’s important to be focused on the pitch and to leave the other situations. Those other situations are not interesting for him, for me, for Chelsea, for the fans or for the national team.
“I watched his game and he played a good game against Belgium and against Lichtenstein.
“It’s normal, though, that if you are a forward and you score, you’ve had a fantastic performance.
“If you play well but don’t score, people say the performance is not good. But Diego is a player who, in every game, puts all of himself into the game. I like this a lot.”