Chelsea coach Conte pleads for protection for striker Costa

London, Sep 12 (IANS) Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has begged English football referees to give striker Diego Costa more protection after the Spaniard was booked for a foul in the English Premier League (EPL) game which ended in a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

Apart from a stab on Swansea’s Leroy Fer, Costa was also involved in all three of Swansea’s yellow cards.

Costa scored both of Chelsea’s goals to earn them a hard-fought point and was involved in a string of run-ins with Swansea defenders.

His claim of being pushed over by City keeper Lukasz Fabianski went unheeded by referee Andre Marriner.

But Conte reckons his star forward is a marked man. “Defenders know him and, sometimes, try to provoke him. I was a footballer and this situation is normal,” Conte said, according to his club’s website.

“You know that Diego is a player with passion. The referee must see and allow Diego Costa to play his football.”

Conte continued: “Diego Costa had fantastic behaviour to control the situation. He took a lot of kicks from the first minute until the end of the game.”

–IANS

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