acktracks on Costa ‘cheat’ comment

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma said on Monday that his description of team-mate Diego Costa as “a guy that likes to cheat” had been lost in translation.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger strongly criticised Costa for hitting out at Laurent Koscielny and getting Gabriel sent off during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over their London rivals in the Premier League on Saturday.

Speaking after the game, Zouma told beIN Sports: “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponents out of his game, and that happened in the game.”

But in a statement on Twitter, the 20-year-old Frenchman said: “Sorry for any confusion, English is not my first language and I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating.

“Simply to say Diego is a player who puts pressure on his opponents and who I have huge respect for.”

Costa twice appeared to strike Koscielny with his hand towards the end of the first half at Stamford Bridge and then became embroiled in an altercation with Gabriel, for which both players were booked.

Moments later, with Costa and Gabriel continuing to snipe at each other, the Arsenal defender flicked his heel towards the Chelsea striker and referee Mike Dean reacted by sending the Brazilian off.

Wenger accused Dean of “naivety” and “weakness” and expressed hope that Costa would face retrospective action from the Football Association.

But Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Costa had been “fantastic” and declared him his man of the match.

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