Costa the key to Chelsea’s title chances – Hughes

Diego Costa’s fitness is key to Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League, according to Stoke City manager Mark Hughes.

Costa capped a typically all-action display by scoring the fourth goal in the 4-2 win over the Potters at Stamford Bridge.

Hughes said Costa, who now has 14 goals for the Blues this season, is vital for the league leaders – who have now won 13 games in a row.

“It will come down to key individuals staying fit,” Hughes said.

“The performance of Costa shows the value that he gives to Chelsea. So you wouldn’t want to lose him because that could significantly damage their ability to win the league.”

Hughes felt his side were let down by sloppy defending for a second successive game, having also conceded four goals in the defeat against Liverpool.

“We got into a good position at 2-2. Not many teams come here and score two goals so we have to take the positives,” the former Blues striker said.

“Unfortunately, we made catastrophic errors in defence. At 2-2 we needed to keep Chelsea at arm’s length. Against good teams you get punished for every mistake you make.”