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Diego Costa: 'I'm responsible 100%, and so are the other guys'

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The Guv'nor lays down the law.

Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Earlier this week, Mourinho challenged reporters to talk to John Terry, Diego Costa, and Ramires (since they've stayed at Cobham instead of leaving on international duty) about whether the Chelsea squad still fully supported their manager.  If they didn't, Mourinho claimed he would resign.  If he had lost the dressing room, if the players had turned on him, that would be the only thing that would make him resign.

John Terry had already thrown his full weight behind the manager.  Now, here comes Diego Costa.  The guv'nor doesn't speak very often to the media, but when he does, he tends to say amazing things.

"We know we're not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realised the team was already in a bad situation."

We've heard these generalities before, but Diego goes further.

"I'm going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100% as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I'm not going to do that. I'm responsible 100%, and so are the other guys. So all we can do now is train very hard and work very hard to try to get back to that level where we were the season before."

Our decision to give players a bit of extra rest and a shorter pre-season has obviously not worked out as hoped at all.  Mourinho hinted at as much before, but Costa lays bare some of the biggest reasons why. For example, Eden Hazard has quite visibly come back a bit out of shape (and not just this summer).  Nemanja Matic has not been good in either of the two preseasons he's had with us.  Diego Costa has never been your uber-athletic, prototypically muscular and cut modern footballer, but even he was affected by a little extra baggage.  It's tough to read too much into pre-season performances (as bad as they may have been), but perhaps now we understand why we tried to work the players extra hard in the Montreal training camp.  The apparent lack of personal responsibility in this respect from many in the squad is a bit disappointing.

But there's no use crying about spilt milk.  What matters now is resolving this situation that we've created for ourselves.  Fortunately, we have the players and personnel already in place to do so, starting with the manager.

"He's very direct, straightforward. He always speaks what he thinks and what he believes to be the truth. Sometimes it's not what people want to hear. It's the way he is and it's why, sometimes, they criticise him.There are managers who always say what people want to hear. I think that's not good. I'd rather have someone who tells me straight up what happens rather than sweet things that I want to hear."

"If you ask a million players who they want as their manager, they will all come back with a top three list of Mourinho, [Pep] Guardiola and [Diego] Cholo Simeone. It was one of the reasons I joined Chelsea because you know when you have a manager that is always successful, is always in the title race and always playing in the Champions League and competing at the top level, it's going to help you develop and become a better player. And help you win titles in your career."

"He is always giving us all the support we need, and the players talk to each other and say he is the best manager you can have. Always when things don't go the way that everyone expects, people, the supporters as well, always look for someone to blame. In some cases they blame the players. In this case they blame the manager, maybe because the manager is Mourinho. Maybe he gets criticised because he is very good. Maybe he gets criticised because he is Mourinho. I have been here for more than a season and have seen sides that have lost many more games than Chelsea, and no one criticises their managers."

"I'm here because I'm happy with the manager but I'm not only speaking on my behalf. I am here to speak for everyone, for the group. All that matters at the end of the day is the group. Yes, he has supported me, but he has shown support for all of the players. I have spoken to all of the players and they all feel the same way about José. I don't like giving interviews, but I'm speaking for the group. We all feel the same way about José."

Diego Costa may not be wearing the captain's armband, but as we've said many times before, he's the one we need to be following into war.