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EPL: Diego Costa cannot hurt me with a bib, says Jose Mourinho

Chelsea boss brushes aside Diego Costa's behaviour after temperamental striker, fuming over being an unused substitute in 0-0 draw with Tottenham, flings a bib in manager's direction at full time

London: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho played down any suggestion of a falling-out with Diego Costa after dropping the striker for yesterday's goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea's striker Diego Costa (top) passes Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as he goes to warm up during their English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane  yesterday. Pic/AFP
Chelsea's striker Diego Costa (top) passes Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as he goes to warm up during their English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane yesterday. Pic/AFP

Costa was not used at White Hart Lane as Mourinho lost patience with the striker, who tossed his substitutes' bib over his shoulder in the direction of his manager in the final moments of a goalless draw which will do little to kick-start the English Premier League champions' season.

The Spain international had clashed with Mourinho at half-time of the mid-week Champions League win away to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Mourinho said: "If he wants to hurt me, it's not with a bib. I have a good relationship with him, no problems.

"I think Diego is very privileged because he was the last one to be (put) on the bench. "Everybody was on the bench. I kept him in the team for all these matches and today we thought the best strategy to play was this one. We are happy with the decision."

Costa did not warm up ahead of the game and appeared pitch-side with trainers, rather than boots on, broadcasters sitting near the Chelsea bench reported. Mourinho says Costa warmed up when instructed to do so.

"A top player going on the bench, they are not happy," Mourinho added. "For me his behaviour was normal. He was ready to play when they went to warm up."

The draw means Tottenham extended their unbeaten run to 13 games while Chelsea's second away win of the season still eludes them.

Both sides had returned from lengthy European trips, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino describing the noon kick-off as a "joke" following Thursday night's 2,500-mile flight from Azerbaijan.

Fluency was lacking in an at-times scrappy contest which lacked moments of real quality.

Mourinho will be grateful for a fourth Premier League clean sheet of the season, particularly in the absence of captain John Terry (ankle) and at a venue where Chelsea lost 3-5 on New Year's Day.

EPL standings

Man City 14 9 2 3 30 14 29
Leicester 14 8 5 1 29 21 29
Man Utd 14 8 4 2 20 10 28
Arsenal 14 8 3 3 24 12 27
Tottenham 14 6 7 1 24 11 25
Liverpool 14 6 5 3 18 15 23
Crystal Palace 14 7 1 6 19 14 22
West Ham 14 6 4 4 25 21 22
Everton 14 5 6 3 27 19 21
Southampton 14 5 5 4 20 17 20
Watford 14 5 4 5 15 16 19
Stoke 14 5 4 5 11 14 19
West Brom 14 5 3 6 13 18 18
Chelsea 14 4 3 7 17 23 15
Swansea 14 3 5 6 14 19 14
Norwich 14 3 4 7 17 25 13
Sunderland 14 3 3 8 16 26 12
Bournemouth 14 2 4 8 17 30 10
Newcastle 14 2 4 8 14 30 10
Aston Villa 14 1 2 11 12 27 5

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