Jose Mourinho chose to wade in on the debate over Deigo Costa’s behaviour during Chelsea’s match with Arsenal by claiming there was no controversy and that the Brazilian born Spanish international should have named as Man Of The Match.
Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners over their North London rivals in a match that was filled with moments of controversy, most of which had Costa at the centre of them.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was incensed that Costa managed to stay on the pitch until Mourinho substituted him off to a standing ovation after 82 minutes. Wenger said, “He can do what he wants and he stays on. Everyone else that responds to him has to be sent off. It’s unacceptable. But he always gets away with it. He will do the same again next week, and the week after, and he always gets away with it”.
The flash point in the match came just before the half time whistle when Costa and Laurent Koscielny clashed in the Arsenal penalty area. Costa appeared to grab at Koscielny’s face, elbow him in the nose and swing his arm at him before chest barging the defender to the floor. The referee, Mike Dean, then booked the Spaniard and Gabriel Paulista who had got involved in the confrontation.
It looked as though the match would then peter out into the interval until Costa provoked Gabriel, walking behind him and whispering to him, causing the defender to lash out slightly with his foot. Costa predictably made a meal of it and appealed to the referee who, despite not seeing the incident himself, showed Gabriel a straight red.
Mourinho was typically defiant about the incident after the match saying, “He played like he has to play and that is why you have full stadiums and you sell football to television around the world for millions and millions. Because the game has to be played like that, OK? Man of the match, for me”.
The Portuguese manager may well have been glad to see one of his players show a bit of fight after the defending Premier League champion’s had managed just one win in the five league games they played prior to this match. Wenger, however, was less than impressed by Costa’s tactics and believes the Football Association should do something about it as it is ‘the least they can do’. He said, “To have two sendings-off for us and Diego Costa still on the pitch, it is a shame. In every game there is aggravation from him. If you look at the pictures and what he does to Koscielny, he pushes him down and hits him in the face. He is always provoking and he also uses the naivety of Mike Dean in this game, as well as my players. Gabriel deserves it but I don’t understand how Costa was not sent off”.
Mourinho, however, does not want his striker to curb his more provocative style and responded to Wenger’s suggestion that he breaks the rules of the game by saying, “Which rules? Your rules?… My view is this – and this why I’m proud of my club – I played against Arsenal maybe 12, 15, 18 times and only once he didn’t moan. And that day we lost. We lost the Community Shield, it was not good for us but we behaved in a fantastic way – no excuses, not crying, not moaning. I have to cope with my defeats; tonight he has to cope with his defeat”.