Laurent Koscielny managed to “stay calm” against Diego Costa back in September but says his friends “would have hit” the Chelsea striker.
The two clashed during Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal two months ago, with the Spanish striker goading Koscielny’s team-mate Gabriel into receiving a red card with his abrasive actions towards the Frenchman.
Koscielny notably brushed off Costa’s attempts to wind him up, while Gabriel’s red card was later rescinded and it was Costa instead who received a three-match ban.
“At the time, when he gives me a slap on the face, I don’t pay attention,” Koscielny told French newspaper L’Equipe. “We’re in a defensive situation and I continue to play. After he pushes me, I fall and get up because I’m not the type of player who drops down like that.
“Sure, I could have had a reaction, but I managed to keep my nerves.
“He wants to blow a defender’s fuse but you have to stay calm.”
“I received a lot of messages telling me: ‘Well done, because I, I would have hit him.’
“You know, it’s five years that I’ve been at Arsenal, I have over two hundred matches with my team, some very important, I played a World Cup, the Euros.
“All this experience helps my serenity and allows me to not be overwhelmed by the emotions of an encounter.”