Friday 25 May 2018

Conte won't curb Costa's 'passionate' ways

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Picture: Reuters
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Picture: Reuters

Jonathan Liew

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will not ask Diego Costa to tone down his aggressive style on the pitch, despite picking up three yellow cards in his first four league games of the season.

Ahead of the crucial visit of Liverpool tonight, Conte said he was "not worried" about the prospect of a suspension, but did warn his striker to "show his passion in the right way".

With four goals for his club and another two for Spain, Costa has been one of the players of the season so far, and provides Chelsea's best chance of puncturing tonight's visitors. But he was lucky to stay on the pitch in the first two games of the season, with a reckless challenge against West Ham's Adrian and a possible dive against Watford both going unpunished.

"Diego, we all know him. He's a passionate man. I want him to put this passion in his football when he plays. It's important to show his passion in the right way, and he is doing this."

Conte even admitted he was not averse to the occasional "necessary" booking. "It's very difficult to talk and tell your player to pay attention because if you have two more yellows, you are banned," Conte said. "Diego knows this, and it's important not to get yellow cards for 'strange' situations. Only for a tackle. For necessity, it's good."

Instead, it is at the other end of the pitch that Conte may well have the biggest headache. Only Manchester City have scored more goals than Liverpool this season, and in the front three of Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, boast one of the quickest front lines in the league.

Compounding the threat is the fact that John Terry is injured and his replacement will be a man making his second Chelsea debut: one David Luiz.

"He played in the national team 100 times, and won a lot," said Conte. "He was the captain of Brazil and he played in a great team who won a lot in his career. When you win, you are a good player." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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