Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has defended Diego Costa in the wake of the 1-1 World Cup qualification draw with Italy, but has admitted the Chelsea striker’s actions on the pitch could hurt him and the team.
Lopetegui opted to withdraw Costa halfway through the second half with the striker in danger of a red card after receiving a booking shortly before the half-time whistle.
The Spain boss is confident Costa can still change his behaviour, but is adamant they must accept the striker the way he is.
“Players keep developing right until they retire. You can change in a positive way if you make the right decisions,” Lopetegui told El Larguero.
“Diego has a certain character. He is a fighter. But sometimes his reactions hurt his reputation.