Pain in the neck for Chelsea

SEEING RED: Costa (centre in white) clashing with Barry during their stormy FA Cup match. The referee's report will determine if the Chelsea striker will be punished by the FA.


    Mar 14, 2016

    Pain in the neck for Chelsea


    CONTROVERSIAL Chelsea striker Diego Costa insisted yesterday that he did not bite the neck of Gareth Barry during his team's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Everton.

    He was shown a second yellow card by referee Michael Oliver after 84 minutes, following an altercation with the Everton midfielder in which Costa moved his head towards Barry and appeared to place his mouth on his neck in an attempted bite.

    However, Costa was adamant that there was no foul play after a defeat which effectively ended Chelsea's season.

    "Diego spoke to club officials after the game and expressed regret over his reaction to the challenge from Gareth Barry that led to his red card," said a Chelsea statement.

    "But Diego was also very clear that he did not bite him at any point during that altercation."

    To add to the late drama at Goodison Park, Barry was also booked in the flashpoint and received a second yellow card of his own in the dying minutes after fouling Cesc Fabregas.

    Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink refused to condemn Costa after the first sending off of his Blues career.

    The Dutchman even managed to laugh off the incident, with reference to the Hollywood movie Anger Management.

    "There are movies about that," said Hiddink when asked if he will advise his player to seek counselling.

    "I have seen that film. Maybe we will go and watch it together. I try to be fair in my judgment and I haven't see it (the incident) so far. But without wanting to give a judgment, he was chased a bit in the game as well."

    Any FA punishment will depend on the referee's report although Hiddink repeated his often-stated position of insisting he does not want Costa to alter his combative style.

    "I like him," said the manager, who praised Costa for wanting to play despite suffering injury in the Champions League loss to PSG.

    "It would have been better for him to be rested but this was not the type of game where you rest players."

    Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku insisted he had nothing to prove to his old club after his two spectacular late goals earned Everton the victory against his former employers.

    The 22-year-old Belgian international had his path to first-team action blocked at Stamford Bridge, moving to Goodison Park on a season-long loan before signing in a £28 million (S$55 million) deal in the summer of 2014.

    Now, with 25 goals for Everton this season, that investment by Roberto Martinez looks a sound one, although the player himself insisted that he was not motivated by any sense of revenge in facing Chelsea.

    "I don't think I have anything to prove," said Lukaku. "Obviously, there is a bit of emotion. I went there as an 18-year-old kid, that's where I learnt my trade to be a professional footballer.

    "But I moved on, like they did. I wish them the best for the future but do my best for my team."