Chelsea’s Guus Hiddink happy to work with feisty Diego Costa

The Dutchman says he would rather work with a passionate footballer than one who needs firing up.
Diego Costa squares off with Boaz Myhill after the final whistle of their Premier League game at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Clive Mason / Getty Images
Diego Costa squares off with Boaz Myhill after the final whistle of their Premier League game at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Clive Mason / Getty Images

LONDON // Guus Hiddink insists he would rather have players with Diego Costa’s feisty personality than work with a squad that needed firing up.

Costa was involved in a series of spats during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday, with the volatile striker’s temper boiling over after the final whistle at Stamford Bridge when he confronted West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.

The Spain international, last week involved in a training ground row with Chelsea teammate Oscar, was clearly frustrated as he left the pitch and could be heard striking the inside of the players tunnel as he made his way back to the dressing room.

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But Chelsea interim manager Hiddink is satisfied his player did not cross the line during an ill-tempered game despite being booked for a nasty challenge on Craig Gardner early in the second half.

And the Dutchman says the forward’s approach helps make him a more dangerous player.

“Did he cross the line? I think there was room to spare,” Hiddink said. “Diego and the defenders were challenging each other. If you look closely they were provoking each other and those flashes were normal.

“I didn’t see anything bad. It was a challenge at high men level. We can always repair the tunnel!

“He is an emotional guy and I like it very much. If you have to push the players it is difficult to survive in the Premier League. But every now and then if you have to control them it is even better.

“He is always dangerous in play. He is vertical in his actions and that is very good to see.”

Chelsea twice took the lead, first through Cesar Azpilicueta and then through a Gareth McAuley own-goal with Craig Gardner and James McClean equalising for West Brom.

McClean’s goal came four minutes from time and brought the visitors a deserved point.

And Hiddink conceded that the draw dealt a severe blow to Chelsea’s hopes of forcing their way back into contention for a top four finish.

Last season’s champions remain in 14th place, just six points clear of the bottom three and 12 points behind Tottenham in fourth.

And Hiddink said they have no margin for error if they are to stage an astonishing turnaround in the second half of the season.

“We have said before as long as it is mathematically possible to get the fourth position and Champions League then we go for it. But then we have to win all those games at home,” he said.

“At the end I think it was a fair result although I think we had a few good chances to make it 2-0 which didn’t happen.

“Then we conceded an unfortunate goal, we let them penetrate too easily and have shots from outside the box.

“The home crowd always like to win but I think it was a very entertaining game, high intensity, high speed and high tempo. So it was an entertaining game.

“But we wanted to win. It would have been the perfect week if we could have won all three games this week.”

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West Brom manager Tony Pulis was relieved to finally break his duck at Stamford Bridge, claiming his first point at Chelsea in seven league visits.

“I’ve had some bad luck here. I was here with Stoke winning 1-0 and they scored two right at the death,” he said. “I thought I’d take that one to my grave. We have tremendous respect for Chelsea but we felt we might cause them problems.

“We tried to press them early on and I’m pleased we got something out of it.

“We are pleased to get the point and come away with everybody fit apart from James Morrison who felt his hamstring right away. He felt it before the game.

“We need 13 points to get to 40 and it’s such a relentless league. Every game is tough.”

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Published: January 14, 2016 04:00 AM


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