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Living on the edge and punching walls: Hiddink defends 'emotional' Diego Costa

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho may be gone, but some things just don't change.  Chelsea's results remain inconsistent, at best, refereeing performances remain atrocious, at best, and the best Diego Costa can hope for is not to be plastered all over front page news with crimes against football, or some such.

All three of those things combined for one most frustrating night for the Chelsea striker, his own inconsistent play (stellar movement, but maybe pass more and dribble less on the break?) combining with the referee's enablement of West Brom to harass, annoy, and nip at Costa all game long.  That West Brom somehow only ended up with 1 yellow card for all their fouls and provocations on the defensive end is surely a minor miracle of modern refereeing (Myhill's yellow was for time-wasting while McClean's yellow was for his shenanigans with Courtois).  Claudio Yacob alone deserved at least three yellows.

And yet, still, it's Diego Costa who's making the headlines as apparently after the final whistle, he took out his frustrations on a bit of plexiglass in the tunnel.  Judging by the match announcers who were constantly on the striker's case, it was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"How close to the line was he? I think there was little space left."

"But no, they were challenging each other. The defenders, and that's their right, were provoking him a little bit, but in a mutual way. Those clashes are normal. I didn't see any bad things."

"A hole in the tunnel wall? We can repair that easily, it's not a problem."

"He's an emotional guy and I like that very much. If you have to push players it's difficult to survive in the Premier League, but if you have to control them it's much better."

-Guus Hiddink; source: ESPN

Hiddink had spoken before of making sure Costa stays focused and despite all the sideshow nonsense going on today, he actually managed to draw the save of the game from Boaz Myhill in the second half, and, on most days, would have also given Chelsea the man advantage by forcing Yacob into a second yellow card-worthy offense.


The comments regarding Diego's attitude and the hypothetical choice between having to push him or needing to control him are fairly revealing as well.  At least he cares, right?

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