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Jose: No way Costa is a problem


Diego Costa, second from left, was the centre of attentionon Wearside despite not finding the net

Diego Costa, second from left, was the centre of attentionon Wearside despite not finding the net

Diego Costa, second from left, was the centre of attentionon Wearside despite not finding the net

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho leapt to the defence of striker Diego Costa after a hard-fought encounter with Sunderland.

The in-form hitman failed to add to his 11 goals for the season at the Stadium of Light but escaped punishment after appearing to kick out at John O'Shea, before picking up his fifth yellow card of the season for catching fellow defender Wes Brown with a flailing arm during a 0-0 draw for the Barclays Premier League leaders.

However, asked if Costa's feisty approach to the game was becoming a problem, Mourinho said: "Why do you speak all the time about Diego? I don't agree, I don't agree. I was just told that he was unlucky to get the yellow card."

Costa will be suspended for Wednesday night's clash with Tottenham, although Mourinho insists he will lose no sleep over his absence.

Asked if Chelsea will miss him, he said: "No. We'll play (Loic) Remy or (Didier) Drogba. We don't cry about injured players or about suspended players.

"If he's suspended, he's suspended. He can rest, he can be fresh against Newcastle and against Tottenham, Drogba and Remy will have their opportunity to start the game. No problem, let's go."

Opposite number Gus Poyet admitted Costa could have seen red, but did not argue with referee Kevin Friend's decision to spare him.

Poyet said: "That's Diego, always on the line, close to the limit. The first one with John O'Shea, there was a little bit of a situation in there.

"But those decisions, if they go one way or the other, I would say the same here. But it's true that sometimes you give the ref the chance, and if you give the ref the chance, then it's difficult to complain,

"But I'm pleased he is going to be able to play because he's the best striker in the league and you want to see him week in, week out."

Chelsea had arrived on Wearside unbeaten in 19 games to date this season, and while they enjoyed the greater share of the possession, Sunderland created just as many promising openings, although neither goalkeeper was extended unduly other than on the one occasion when each was grateful for the help of the woodwork.

Costel Pantilimon finger-tipped Willian's 17th-minute shot on to the post and Santiago Vergini clipped the top off the crossbar 11 minutes before the break, and that was as close as either team came to claiming all three points - with the Black Cats growing into the game the longer it went on.

Mourinho, whose side failed to score in a game for the first time this term, said: "The Sunderland guys, they were watching our game at their houses against Schalke and they went to bed at 11pm after the game.

"We played 90 minutes at Schalke and we arrived home at 5am. I don't forget this, I praise my guys. They are doing fantastically well.

"I know how some Einsteins in football, they like to say that defending is a crime. Defending well is not a crime, to defend well you need to train, you need to work, you need to understand things well, so for sure they did it during the week.."

Poyet was understandably delighted by the commitment and discipline shown by his players.

He said: "It was the best for a while, no doubt. I always say you can prepare the team, you can talk tactics, training sessions, videos, the lot. But at the end of the day, it's the players on the pitch come Saturday at 3pm - or today at 5.30pm.

"That's the way you need to do it, to show they are convinced and they like it. Not too many people like to defend nowadays, and it's a pleasure that this team went out with the attitude today to say, 'We are going to stop you from scoring for the first time this season', and then be careful because maybe we will nick the game on the break.

"I think that was spot-on. You couldn't really see an easy chance for Chelsea. They needed to do something very, very special to score today."