Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele has accepted the Football Association’s charge of violent conduct, head coach Mauricio Pochettino has announced.
Dembele appeared to claw his fingers down Diego Costa’s cheek during Spurs’ 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Monday night.
The Belgian had until 6pm on Thursday to respond, but he has not contested the charge and could now face a lengthy suspension.
The FA has said it considers the incident to be serious enough that “the standard punishment of three matches would be clearly insufficient”.
Pochettino would not comment on the potential length of a ban but said he had spoken to Dembele about the altercation.
The midfielder’s clash with Costa was one of several ugly exchanges during the game at Stamford Bridge and both clubs have been charged by the FA for failing to control their players.
Pochettino admits his team “crossed the line” but said he could understand their behaviour given the pressure of the title race.
“I think even if you play sometimes football with your friends, if you play for the honour, for the beers, or for the sandwiches, you want to win,” Pochettino said.
“When you run and you go for the title, it is difficult sometimes to keep calm. I feel very proud of my players. I think we showed big character.
“Sometimes we crossed the line and if you cross the line you need to pay. We know the rules but I think it is a good lesson for us.
“We need to learn a lot and I am sure we will be stronger next season.”