Diego Costa is a "cheat" and his antics against Arsenal were "no surprise" to his Chelsea team-mates.
That was the startling admission made by Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma, who also admitted that the team was "proud" of the Spaniard.
Costa is currently waiting to hear whether he will be banned by the Football Association for his antics during Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, during which the visitors had Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny sent off after incidents with Costa.
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."
Jose Mourinho issued a robust and colourful defence of Diego Costa following Chelsea's 2-0 defeat of Arsenal. Here Press Association Sport describes the exchange with journalists in Mourinho's post-match media conference.
When Diego Costa walked off at half-time at Stamford Bridge yesterday, it was either a sign of Arsenal's iron discipline or an indictment of their approach that not one of Arsene Wenger's players attempted to make his journey to the dressing-room an uncomfortable one.