Belfast Telegraph

Mature Costa now an example for his team-mates, maintains Conte

By Ian Baker

Antonio Conte believes that Diego Costa has finally learned to control himself and become "an example" to his Chelsea side.

The Spanish striker became something of a liability in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge due to his irascibility which repeatedly got him into trouble with referees and the authorities.

But now Conte believes Costa has changed and has praised his overall attitude and demeanour after declaring the 28-year-old fit to play at Middlesbrough today.

"I think Diego is a very good player," said the Italian. "It is important for me to see that every game Diego works a lot with the ball and without the ball. He's an example for all and I want him to continue that way.

"If all players think this way, we'll be a good team and tough to play against. Diego shows emotion but he can control himself. It's fantastic.

"Diego is improving a lot in a lot of aspects. For me now he's one of the best strikers in the world.

"He must continue working with the commitment and work rate. He's fantastic to see his work rate in games and training games."

Meanwhile, Conte has dismissed suggestions that Oscar has no future at Stamford Bridge despite not starting a league match since September.

"Oscar's future is Chelsea," added Conte. "Chelsea, full stop."

Belfast Telegraph


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