Jose Mourinho: Diego Costa counts the cost of image
Chelsea 2 - Hull City O
Jose Mourinho claims Diego Costa is victimised by referees because of his reputation and insists the striker is a "clean" player who has changed his previously physical approach.
Costa picked up his seventh yellow card of the season when he was booked for diving in Chelsea's win over Hull City on Saturday, and Mourinho believes that is a consequence of his "image" rather than his actions.
The Chelsea manager also revealed that the club's staff, as well as players Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta, advised Costa to curb some of the more abrasive elements of his game.
"Everything he does is a yellow card," Mourinho said. "So he does nothing for a red card, he does nothing, really. For me, the normal situation would be now to be on the second, maximum third yellow card. But seven yellow cards - it looks like everybody comes ready for him. Which I don't understand."
When asked if Costa was victimised, Mourinho said: "I think so, I think so."
He added: "I don't know (why). Because I think when he was at Atletico (Madrid) he created a certain image, and people don't believe he can change… (but) he changed.
"In England normally the referees are very good in the difference between an aggressive action, or a violent action… They don't like the elbows, the spit, and these kind of things are not acceptable. And [Costa] learned.
"He had lessons on it. When I say lessons, I say talks. Not just me or my staff, also people like Fabregas, Azpilicueta."
At that point in the discussion, referee Chris Foy walked by, and Mourinho joked about Costa's booking. "You have to ask Mr Foy - look at him! Mr Foy! Mr Foy! Tell the guys, please! Come and tell them! Diego Costa is crying because you gave him a yellow card! And these guys are asking me why."
Foy then jokingly offered Mourinho a tissue.
Hull manager Steve Bruce might need it more. He had even greater reason to moan, and duly did so accusing Chelsea's Gary Cahill of going over "like something out of Swan Lake".
Finally Hull's Tom Huddlestone puts in a dangerous tackle and gets a red card.
"The referee shows his intent because he's booked two players for diving and Cahill is lucky to be on the pitch for his first challenge," Bruce said.
"If he hasn't dived there, then I don't know what one is. We all know what he's trying to do, he's trying to get a penalty. The referee is 10 yards away and there's no excuse. We need him to do his job otherwise it will keep rearing its ugly head. Unfortunately, from the first minute, Chris Foy had one of those awful afternoons."
That cannot be said of Frank Lampard, who scored again for Manchester City and prompted the expected question of Mourinho: did he regret letting the midfielder go to Manchester City?
"It's his life, nothing to do with us," came the reply. "He left Chelsea as a free agent and chooses his life, we can't complain about it. That's football. My view is that when you want to look forward, look for the future and have people like Fabregas and (Nemanja) Matic and (Jeremie) Boga, which are the next 10 years of the club, - and the project is prepare for the next 10 years, not for the next year - we made the right decision.
"You can argue, 'you have John Terry and Didier Drogba'. Different. Didi is a striker that is coming to help and support. JT is the best central defender in English football and it doesn't matter how old he is. You have a big player like Frank we would stop the development of the other guys."