Chelsea striker Diego Costa is “perfect” for the Premier League leaders, according to teammate Pedro.
A row with manager Antonio Conte and his staff, as well as speculation over a move to the Chinese Super League, had little impact on Costa in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Hull.
The 28-year-old striker scored his 52nd Chelsea goal on his 100th appearance and celebrated by gesturing about the speculation surrounding his future missing the win at Leicester due to a back injury.
Former Barcelona forward Pedro said: “He is perfect for this team. I have played with important people, important players like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic [at Barcelona].
“But Costa is a very good striker too, a very good runner, strong physically and scores more goals for the team.”
Cesc Fabregas says Costa is integral to Chelsea’s bid to win the Premier League title.
“We need him if we want to achieve our targets,” Fabregas said. “It was a good goal and he’s always there when we need him.
“We know what Diego brings to the team, nothing needs to be said about that. We’re pleased he’s back.”
Costa’s goal-scoring return concluded a near-ideal weekend for Chelsea, who lead the standings by eight points.
Rivals Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United dropped points on Saturday, while Arsenal narrowly avoided doing so on Sunday.
Chelsea’s next Premier League games — following Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with neighbours Brentford — are at Liverpool on Jan. 31 and at home to Arsenal on Feb. 4.
Chelsea lost the reverse fixtures earlier this season before embarking on a 13-match winning run.