Chelsea striker Diego Costa says that he has to be “extra careful” to avoid getting into trouble on the pitch, because he is treated differently to other players.
Renowned for his fiery temperament as much as his goalscoring prowess with Atletico Madrid, Costa has hit the ground running with 17 goals in 20 Premier League games since moving to Stamford Bridge last summer for +44 million, though controversy has never been too far away.
In January the 26-year-old received a three-match ban from the Football Association having been found guilty of a deliberate stamp on Liverpool defender Emre Can – a punishment Jose Mourinho claimed arose from a “campaign” being waged against Chelsea.
Having now served his suspension Costa has once again vowed to maintain his competitive streak on the pitch but believes he is under extra scrutiny from match officials.
“I’m not going to change my way of playing,” he told reporters.
“I do know now that I have to be a little bit more careful because it’s not the same when I do something or when someone else does it. Something I do, it’s talked about much more than another player and I have to be extra careful.
“But I’m never going to change the way I play – that’s what got me here, it’s the way I am. Am I still angry at the suspension? No, it’s gone. Now I’m just trying to get back to my best physical form.”
All of Costa’s 17 goals this season have come in the Premier League and none have been scored in Chelsea’s last four games in all competitions, but he is hopeful he will be able to buck both trends in Sunday’s League Cup final against Tottenham at Wembley.
“I don’t pick tournaments to score, or rivals to score against,” he added. “I’m a striker, I want to score in every game I play. If it hasn’t happened for me yet in the cups, I’m hoping to God it happens on Sunday.
“The truth is, I don’t even know how many games it is since I last scored – it doesn’t worry me. When I was on top form, when I was at my best, I had that suspension…
“I still don’t even know why that happened but now I am running a little bit behind, trying to do my best, but hopefully I will be 100 per cent for the final and I can win my first trophy with Chelsea.
“I came here to win titles and finals are not for playing in, they are for winning.
“Wembley is a historic stadium where many great finals have been played and many great players have performed. This is my first game there and I’m hoping to do my best.”