Kurt Zouma has admitted his Chelsea team-mates know Diego Costa is a “cheat” but insists they are all “proud” of his antics.
Costa is currently waiting to hear whether he will be banned by the Football Association for his behaviour during Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, during which the visitors had Gabriel sent off after several skirmishes with ‘master of the dark arts’ Costa. The Gunners were later reduced to nine men when Santi Cazorla picked up his second caution of the match.
Speaking immediately after the game, Zouma was asked by BeIN Sport: “Arsenal will feel hard done-by, they will claim you should have had a player sent-off in Diego Costa but this is a player that’s famed for riling other players isn’t it?
“Are you surprised that they reacted in this way?”
Zouma replied: “No, we’re not surprised because we know Diego.
“Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponent out of his game.
“That happened in the game but he’s a really nice guy. We’re proud to have him, like the other players, and we’re happy to win this game today.”
When questioned about Costa’s behaviour after the match Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, claimed that the Spaniard was no different to a host of other physical strikers.
“It’s difficult to play against him. It’s difficult to play against Rooney. It’s difficult to play against Benteke. It’s difficult to play against Suárez. It’s difficult to play against Higuaín,” said Mourinho.
“It’s difficult to play against people with this aggression, people who want to score, lose the ball, want to press, want to defend, compete, discuss, go to every ball.
“But it’s because of these players that football is what football is, because they create passion.”
What do you think of Zouma’s opinion on Costa? Has he said too much and will his actions lead to referees watching the Chelsea striker’s actions even more closely? Or is it just nice to hear a professional being honest?