Guus Hiddink says Everton “went after” Diego Costa but admitted the Chelsea striker has to take responsibility for rising to the provocation.
Chelsea revealed in a statement that Costa had “expressed regret” over his clash with Gareth Barry but denied biting the Everton midfielder.
Hiddink, speaking after the match, was reluctant to be drawn on the incident.
“I try to be fair in my judgement, I haven’t seen it and it is difficult for me to say yes or no,” said the Dutchman.
“Without seeing, I don’t want to give judgement on this.
“He was chased a bit in the game. They went after him. They knew it. It is within the rules.
“As a referee you must protect the situation but knowing and feeling the atmosphere – then comes the moment that I would like to give judgement (on) but I haven’t seen it.”
Hiddink was asked whether the volatile Costa should seek help for anger management and jokingly made reference to the 2003 film of the same name.
“There are movies about that, I think. One movie with Jack Nicholson. Maybe we go and watch it together,” he added.
“I like him still going towards the edge, but you also have to take into consideration he was desperate to play today.
“It would have been better to rest him, but it is not the type of game you rest players.
“It is all the combination – not fully physically fit and all the provocations and he has to take responsibility for the incident.”