Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Costa Says He Is Fit to Fire Blues Back Up the Table

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Costa Says He Is Fit to Fire Blues Back Up the Table

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent

DIEGO COSTA has warned Premier League defenders that he will be in great shape when he returns from his ban on Saturday. The Chelsea striker is expected to start against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge after completing a three-game domestic suspension for slapping Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny.

Earlier this month, Costa admitted his poor form he has scored just two goals this term has been caused by returning to pre-season overweight.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque left him out of this month's internationals and Costa has been forced to work at the club's training ground instead.

But the forward believes he has benefited and said: "It's been really important for me. I have been able to train with my own specific schedule to help me get better and better.

"The sessions have been good and I have been able to benefit from being here. I've been working on what I needed to work on and I am happy about that."

Costa was heavily criticised for his behaviour against Arsenal, which resulted in him being charged with violent conduct after the referee missed his clash with Koscielny.

Despite the controversy, Costa remains a crowd favourite at Stamford Bridge and wants to repay everyone at the club for backing him.

Speaking after meeting supporters at a signing session yesterday, he told Chelsea TV: "It's always important to spend some time with the fans when you can. It's a way of saying thank you to them for supporting us in a way we can't do on the pitch.

"You never quite get used to it but it's great because it makes you realise that you're popular at a club that supports you, that people trust you. That's all really important to me. Hopefully, we can start on a good winning run for them all."

Chelsea have struggled during his suspension too, picking up just one point from their matches against Newcastle and Southampton. …

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