Sunday 4 December 2016

Costa warned to hold temper in check after Conte spat

Matt Law

Published 18/10/2016 | 02:30

Diego Costa celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea on Saturday Photo: Reuters / Andrew Couldridge
Diego Costa celebrates after opening the scoring for Chelsea on Saturday Photo: Reuters / Andrew Couldridge

Diego Costa has been warned not to publicly argue with Antonio Conte again after he became angered at being shouted at by the Chelsea head coach in the victory over Leicester City.

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The striker made a request to be substituted and exchanged words with Conte in an incident that had echoes of his fallout with former manager Jose Mourinho.

It was assumed Costa's insistence that he should come off was because he was walking a disciplinary tightrope, but it is also understood that he had become annoyed by Conte's coaching style.

Conte micro-manages his players from the touchline, telling them where to stand and shouting at them if they do not carry out his orders. Costa had opened the scoring for Chelsea with his seventh goal of the season, but did not escape some verbal volleys from Conte and motioned to be taken off in the second half.

Suspension

The 28-year-old is just one booking away from suspension, which is believed to be part of the reason for his request, but Costa was also responding to what he took as criticism from Conte.

Conte played down the incident after the game, insisting it was up to him who he substituted, but the pair exchanged words away from the cameras and the Italian's staff also told Costa not to repeat his actions.

Captain John Terry, meanwhile, faces a fight to win back his starting place in Conte's team now that the Italian has switched to a back three.

Terry was left on the bench for the Leicester game, despite having recovered from an ankle injury and proved his fitness in training. Conte rates Terry highly, but there are doubts over how the 35-year-old would cope with playing in a back three.

Telegraph.co.uk

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