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Mourinho heaps praise on Diego Costa

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Thanks to Chelsea's rather substandard start to the season, opportunities to praise individual players have been few and far between.  Fortunately, we won on Saturday, so there was finally something positive to talk about.  Here's the manager on the big man up front, who was making his return from a three-match domestic ban.

"Of course, we need him. The team depends always on a striker like him, from a character, from a personality like him. When we don't have him, of course we miss him."

"He is a very good player and sometimes personality qualities add something to the team. You always try to find in teams leaders or different kinds of leaders. Diego doesn't speak English so well to be fluent and be a leader in the dressing room, but in a game, the way he plays, the way he gives his body to the cause - because his body is always very punished - is brilliant. The team needs that."

"The character, the personality, the movement, the starting pressure (high) up, to stretch the game when the team is under pressure, to stretch the game and to ask for the ball in the space and to let the team come out of the pressure zones. He has a lot of tactical qualities that the team needs."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

Earlier in the week, Mourinho was also impressed by Diego stepping up into the public eye and taking some personal responsibility for Chelsea's poor start to the season, admitting for example that he (and many others in the squad) have let themselves go a bit too much in the summer.

"My reaction to that is, first of all, that he's an honest guy, a guy that is not a leader of a mutiny. He is the kind of guy that assumes his own responsibility."

"It was a consequence of a bad approach but also a consequence of the difficult last third of the season he had: suspension, injury, another injury, not playing, disappointment at missing the best period of the season when you become champions. [So he goes on] holiday, goes to Brazil, the food in Brazil for a Brazilian is divine, and he comes back in bad conditions."

"He could use many excuses for our bad moment but he has chosen himself and his condition as one of the factors, so respect."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

Costa's game-winning goal on Saturday was just his third all season, though despite a very sluggish finish to last season thanks mainly to nagging injuries, he does still have 6 goals in his last 14 matches in all competitions for Chelsea.  Hopefully he'll get to improve a bit further on that ratio tomorrow and in the coming weeks.