Under-fire striker Diego Costa, set to return for Chelsea’s Champions League tie at Paris St Germain on Tuesday following a three-match ban, believes his on-field challenges sometimes provoke “exaggerated reactions”.
The Brazilian-born Spanish international was heavily criticised after incurring a suspension for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can in a League Cup semi-final victory at Stamford Bridge in January.
Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Chelsea’s Premier League title rivals Manchester City, said last month that he hoped Costa’s ban would be “a good thing for him to change in the future”.
The 26-year-old former Atletico Madrid forward sees things differently though.
“Some of the kicks I suffer in England would be punished with a red card in Spain,” Costa told the club website (www.chelseafc.com) on Friday.
“My challenges on the ball are strong but noble at the same time.
“If you check my records you will find I’ve never caused a bad injury to any player. The bottom line is sometimes the little things I do on the pitch provoke exaggerated reactions.
“I consider myself a player who fights and gives everything on the pitch. I am getting used to getting kicked more than before,” added Costa.
“Premier League defenders are really strong and physical…consequently you must be really strong all through the 90 minutes. I like the challenge.”
Runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea are fighting for silverware on three fronts this season.
They are seven points clear of second-placed City in the Premier League, meet Paris St Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League next week and are looking forward to a League Cup final meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on March 1.
Costa said he had faith that Jose Mourinho could lead Chelsea to glory.
“We all know he’s among the best managers in the world,” he said. “When you arrive in a team with a manager like him you try to spot every single thing you can learn from him.
“Every manager has a different way of reading the game. He is a clever manager who spots very well the opponent’s virtues and weaknesses.
“Our training sessions are based on that. He knows exactly the kind of team he wants to build and the way he wants to play,” added Costa.