English Premiership

Conte praises Costa's 'great discipline'

2017-03-20 11:47
Diego Costa (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte praised striker Diego Costa for his "great discipline" on Saturday following the Blues’ victory over tough-tackling Stoke.

Chelsea battled their way to a 2-1 win in an ill-tempered game thanks to an 87th-minute strike from Gary Cahill, extending their lead at the top of the Premier League to 13 points.

Costa received a yellow card after 17 minutes for dissent after a challenge left him on the floor, but kept his cool during a running battle with the Stoke defenders and struck the post in the second half .

"It is not simple to get a yellow card after a few minutes," said Conte.

"Diego is showing in all this season, not just this game, great discipline, great commitment. He showed me [his ability] to think for the team and not for himself and I want this from my players, this type of behaviour. He was great, he played a difficult game but he always showed danger for the defensive line for Stoke," he added.

Conte said that it was part of the game for opponents to try and provoke players, "I think that it's normal to try to bring a player to be angry and then to react and to commit another foul. It's normal, this.

"I think the great news is that Diego is showing [himself] to be a great player, also in this aspect.”

"I know in the past sometimes he has received two yellow cards and not finished the game, but this season I have to be pleased for him and for his behaviour," added Conte.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, dismissed accusations that he had ordered his players to target the fiery Spanish hitman.

"We didn't do that, absolutely not," he insisted. "More likely he targeted our players, to be perfectly honest.”

"We wanted a competitive game and I think that's what it was. I really enjoyed it - a good Premier League game with no quarter given or asked,” added Hughes.

"I played in that position for many years and I think he's an outstanding striker, but on occasions he's got elements of his play that he doesn't need to have.

"He can still have an edge, he can still have an element of looking after himself without all the rest of it. I think it takes away from his image as a player.

"It's not necessary, but maybe that's how he generates his feeling in the game and he needs that element to produce his best work. I just think it detracts from what a good player he is."

Read more on:    chelsea  |  english premiership  |  diego costa  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.