Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink has played down the training pitch confrontation between Diego Costa and Oscar – but admits the duo did briefly square up.
Tensions boiled over ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie with Scunthorpe after robust tackles were exchanged during training at the Blues’ Cobham base.
Costa took exception to a challenge from Oscar and responded in kind in a competitive training session, with the swift intervention of team-mates required to help defuse the situation.
“It was a pity that our photographer yesterday had a day off because he could’ve shot beautiful pictures of two wolves bumping chests,” said Hiddink, who succeeded Jose Mourinho last month.
“(Costa) took a charge from behind and it was overdone. They stumbled over the ground, stood up and then chested a bit without any further threat of punching or whatever.
“It’s a battle which happens when you’re used to playing at high intensity.
“Oscar apologised in front of the group. They looked at each other and then they started laughing.”
Oscar, in particular, has appeared rejuvenated by the managerial change at Chelsea.
Hiddink did not wish to compare the Brazil playmaker’s performances in recent weeks with those under his predecessor, though.
“Players like Oscar who are blessed by nature in their talent, they know they have to work hard for the benefit of the team,” Hiddink added.
“Maybe they were relying a bit too much on their talent. They are adding now some things.
“I don’t want to say that it was not (the case) before, but I’m focusing on that because the talent is gifted.”
Hiddink won the 2009 FA Cup during his previous spell as interim boss, when he replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari.
A second win in the competition is an aim for Hiddink.
The Dutchman added: “Fourth place in the Premier League is difficult. Then there are two targets left and one is the FA Cup.
“It’s a big target for this group of players to get it.”