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Jose Mourinho Addresses Diego Costa Argument After Chelsea Beat Maccabi Tel Aviv

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2015

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho speaks to the press ahead of group G Champions League soccer match in Haifa, Israel, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Chelsea will play against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Ariel Schalit/Associated Press

Instead of revelling in a 4-0 away victory in the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has had to play down an ugly incident with striker Diego Costa.         

Manager and player engaged in a heated exchange of words at half-time during the Blues' win on Tuesday over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Group G. But Mourinho insists the incident didn't amount to much and that it was soon a case of forgive and forget in the dressing room, according to the Guardian's Dominic Fifield:

Dominic Fifield @domfifield

Mourinho on his spat with Costa: "I reacted. He did too. At half-time in the dressing room, a few kisses and a few cuddles. No problem.”

Tensions had mounted over Costa's inability to latch on to scoring chances when they came his way, something that irked Mourinho, per Fifield:

Dominic Fifield @domfifield

Jose Mourinho and Diego Costa screaming at each other as teams retired at break, the manager complaining at forward's lack of anticipation.

Chelsea's official Twitter account offered a little more detail:

Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC

Jose says he was unhappy with Diego Costa not making a right movement in the first half, but they made up between them at half-time. #CFC

Given Costa's notoriously fiery temperament along with Mourinho's own love of an argument, it's no surprise things rapidly descended into a shouting match.

Yet, as comical as the scene may appear to outsiders, it does speak to Costa's general lukewarm form for the Blues this season. His movement isn't as incisive as it was for long periods during the last campaign.

Costa's ability to create space in and around the box made him one of Europe's deadliest finishers. But this was yet another game where he was a virtual spectator.

BT Sport pundits Glenn Hoddle and Steve McManaman took the former Atletico Madrid marksman to task for his static display in Israel:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Macca and @GlennHoddle query @diegocosta's "immobile" presence in front of goal despite @ChelseaFC's victory. https://t.co/GCcvP9yD5I

Based on this analysis, Mourinho was right to lament Costa's display. He may have settled the argument during the interval, but Chelsea's manager seemingly couldn't resist another jab at his striker's lack of movement.

Speaking after the game, Mourinho reserved special praise for Oscar's goal, Chelsea's fourth. The reason for his admiration sent a clear message to Costa:

Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC

Jose says the Oscar goal was the one he was really happy with as finally a player arrived in the box on the end of an open-play move. #CFC

That's something Costa has done precious little of this season.

But while Mourinho has reason to be unhappy with his striker, he reserved most of his ire for the state of the pitch in Israel. Mourinho blamed the surface for an injury to Ramires before the match and one suffered by captain John Terry during the game, per Fifield:  

Dominic Fifield @domfifield

Chelsea lost Ramires in training last night, and Terry to an ankle injury tonight. "The surface was bad and dangerous," said Mourinho.

Those are costly injuries ahead of this weekend's Premier League meeting with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Nov. 29. Chelsea were blasted 5-3 at White Hart Lane last season. Currently 15th in the table, the last thing Mourinho needs is to be taking a patchwork team to face an in-form Spurs side.

But his bigger concern will be getting his talisman up front motivated and firing. A prolific Costa could still turn this trying season into a successful one for the Blues. 

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