Costa finally opens up about Conte row – “This is what actually happened”

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has played down his training ground row with Antonio Conte in January, declaring “it was nothing”.

The 18-goal hitman was left out of the Blues squad for the January trip to Leicester, having been involved in an angry exchange with Conte and members of his coaching staff regarding a back injury.

The incident came after a big-money approach from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian – newly-promoted to the CSL this season and looking to make a splash – which could have landed the Spain international a mammoth £570,000-a-week.

Brazilian-born Costa didn’t train with the Blues first-team for nearly a week, but after missing the win at the King Power, has been back front and centre of his side’s title charge.

“It was nothing,” Costa told ESPN Brasil when asked about the row after the Blues’ 2-1 win at the London Stadium.

“People here [in England] make up a lot of stuff. Things happen, but I’m showing now that there’s nothing to it.

“I’m playing and scoring goals, and that’s the important thing. Everyone knows that anything I say has bigger repercussions than what it was.

“The manager is someone who works us really hard in training. He’s got his personality just like I’ve got mine and others have theirs, but the important thing is to show your personality in a way that benefits the team.

“This is what’s happening. Everyone is on the same page and that’s the way we have to go.”

According to their No.19, that relentlessness won’t be stopping anytime soon, with Costa adamant that complacency will not be allowed to creep in, as they pursue a second title in three seasons.

“We can’t go onto the pitch with the mindset of thinking we’re champions already, that we have the title wrapped up,” he said.

“There’s still a long way to go. We do have a good advantage but we have to keep doing what we’re doing. We just have to try and keep winning and take it one step at a time.”

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