Praise for ‘controlled’ Costa after Blues draw


Guus Hiddink praised Diego Costa following a first-half spat with Watford’s Juan Carlos Paredes that earned both players a yellow card.

The volatile Chelsea striker was booked for pushing over his marker during the 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road – but he was more sinned-against than sinner, according to Blues boss Hiddink.

Paredes appeared to provoke Costa and then made a meal of a shove from the Blues star, clutching his head.

“It was very clear because we were very close – it was just 10 yards from our bench,” Hiddink said.

“He’s punched Diego in his back and after they stumbled. Then Parades has brought his hands to his head, but Diego was nowhere near his head.

Chelsea are unbeaten since Hiddink's return to the club
Chelsea are unbeaten since Hiddink’s return to the club

“This is something you must not do – provocation to get someone sent off the pitch. Happily the referee and the assistant referee saw it.

“Diego was calm. In the incident, he was in control, and also at half-time he was very controlled. There was nothing needed from me or from the other players to calm him down.”

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, who worked with Costa at Atletico Madrid, appeared to back Hiddink, saying there was ‘nothing’ in the incident.

The point lifted Chelsea up to 13th in the Premier League table and extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches.

“It’s been a difficult half-year for the team, but step by step we are getting more and more our way of how we like to play,” Hiddink said.

“Also we like to see that we created chances and we are recently doing better and better.

“We were not rewarded as we should have been rewarded but this is not a league where you can easily win.”