Notoriously feisty Chelsea forward Diego Costa has been praised for his cool head under pressure this season, with teammate Thibaut Courtois admitting the Spain international has improved the mental side of his game this season.
Costa earned a reputation for theatrics and a quick temper in his first two seasons in England, but has appeared more focused on his game during the current campaign – although the last couple of weeks have seen some old habits begin to kick back in.
Somewhere in the Stoke dressing room there must be a detailed rota for fouling Diego Costa because they’ve all had a turn now
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) March 18, 2017
The 28-year-old was subject to a number of fouls by Stoke defenders on Saturday afternoon, trying to provoke a reaction after an early booking for dissent, but Courtois praised Costa after the match for his restraint.
“When they kicked him,” the Belgian said, “he remained calm and that’s very good for us because in the worst case, he would have got a second yellow card and been out of the game. In some moments maybe Diego exaggerates a bit, but all of the time, they hit him quite well.”
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) March 18, 2017
He added: “After four or five 50-50 moments where the referee can whistle or not whistle, he gets a bit angry and gets a yellow card. So it’s important for him to stay calm and he’s developed that a lot this season.”
Costa has scored 17 league goals this season, playing a huge role in firing Chelsea to a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League table after bagging just 12 last season in a chaotic, disrupted campaign.
The forward’s last two seasons in England have been riddled with missed games through injury or suspension, but he has started all but two of the club’s league games so far this season.
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