Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink says he can sympathise with the frustration of Diego Costa in recent months but wants the Spain international to re-focus on providing goals for his team.
Costa has found the net just four times in 21 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season and his perceived lack of movement was repeatedly criticised by former boss Jose Mourinho, who benched the former Atletico Madrid man in favour of Eden Hazard as a false No. 9 against Tottenham last month.
The striker responded by tossing his bib at Mourinho as he returned from a warm-up in the closing stages of the draw at Tottenham Hotspur. The public tension between the two men ensured that Costa was among those singled out by booing Chelsea supporters angry at the sacking of Mourinho against Sunderland last Saturday.
But Hiddink — who revealed he had a similar outburst while a player with Dutch club De Graafschap — is backing Costa to keep his emotions in check and win over disgruntled supporters by re-discovering his scoring touch.
“He’s an emotional guy, and there was something with a bib,” Hiddink said of Costa during his news conference ahead of Chelsea’s Boxing Day clash with Watford. “When I went back to my home [De Graafschap], a long time ago, I was subbed even as captain. I wasn’t used to that.
“That day is fixed in my brain even though it was just after World War Two! I was captain of my team and the manager substituted me at half-time. I thought I’d performed, but I threw off my armband and threw it at him, saying ‘you make a new captain.’
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