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Thibaut Courtois praises Diego Costa for keeping a cool head against Stoke City

Stoke City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Two of the three most fouled players in the Premier League are Eden Hazard (75 times) and Diego Costa (68 times), so even when Eden Hazard is not present on the pitch, Chelsea players can still be subject to constant fouling by opponents. Such was the case in our match against Stoke City, with Costa getting harassed from the first blow of the whistle.

Eventually Diego got tired of their shtick, but as it so often happens in such situations, it was he who was punished with a yellow card instead in the 17th minute after vociferously complaining about the latest foul from one of Stoke's players brutes. However, despite Stoke’s constant attempts to escalate things from there, Diego remained calm throughout the rest of the match.

His attitude earned the praises of his teammate Thibaut Courtois, who was happy to see his combative colleague keeping a cool head.

"They were very physical and it was hard to find our usual game. They tried to put our players out of the game by doing that. They know Diego doesn't like it and he maybe starts to fight with people. Maybe they do this to get him a red card or something."

"In some moments maybe Diego exaggerates a bit as well, but I think most of the time they were hitting him quite well."

"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."

"When they kicked him, 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. It's a good job he remained calm and dealt with what happened to him and moved on."

"Diego is the type of guy who has a lot of energy and goes for every ball and he gets kicked as well. People know how he is as well and a lot of Stoke players got a yellow card for fouls on him. He was always calm and he does well for us."

-Thibaut Courtois; Source: Sky Sports

While Diego has largely retained his aggressive style of play, his demeanor on the pitch has markedly improved since Conte’s taken over, showing that he can in fact be a reliable goalscorer without the constant sideshows with defenders. Certainly a change for the better, even if old habits sometimes resurface.

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