Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marked Man Costa Insists He's Relishing Rough Stuff

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marked Man Costa Insists He's Relishing Rough Stuff

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent

DIEGO COSTA claims he is being singled out for special treatment by defences but will never complain "because it's part of the game". The Spanish striker has made a huge impact since his PS32million transfer from Atletico Madrid last July and is the joint top scorer in the Premier League with 19 goals.

But Costa has come under scrutiny for his aggressive style of play, which included being given a three-game ban by the FA for treading on Liverpool's Emre Can during a Capital One Cup tie in January.

Costa says opponents deliberately try to provoke him but he bears no grudges and is delighted to be playing in England.

When asked about the rough tactics being used against him, Costa said: "I have been receiving that kind of treatment for a long time, so I will try to improve and not fall into the trap. But sometimes I do try to wind them up.

"Everyone wants to win and do their best for their club. In my own way, I try to give my all for my team and fans my opponent will do the same so I don't complain because it's part of the game.

"I will keep fighting and try to give my best for the team. Things are going well for me. I can't deny I'm competitive, I'm a fighter. That's how the League is here.

"There is fight, commitment, teams never stop battling and it's a competition that demands a lot from a player. That's why I like it and I'm very happy here."

Costa, 26, is hoping to end his first season in English football with a Premier League winner's medal to add to the Capital One Cup he lifted a month ago.

Chelsea, six points clear at the top of the Premier League table, are still trying to rediscover the form they showed earlier in the campaign when they swept most teams aside. They take on Stoke at home on Saturday having won just two of their last seven games at Stamford Bridge. …

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