Diego Costa: Chelsea striker does himself no favours, says Stoke boss Mark Hughes
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says that he accepts Chelsea striker Diego Costa's on-field antics but also admits 'you don't have to enjoy it'.
Costa was one of two Chelsea players booked in Saturday's game of eight yellow cards and a red as the Premier League leaders won 2-1 at Stoke.
For the second season running in this fixture, Costa was a key figure, regularly clashing with Stoke players.
"It's an unnecessary part of the game these days," Hughes told BBC Stoke.
"You have to accept it, but you don't have to enjoy it. There were a lot of niggling fouls, people over-emphasising challenges.
"The boy Costa is an outstanding player. And I can appreciate the skills that he has," added the former Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea striker.
"I played many years in the same position myself. I understand what he's trying to do but, at times, he doesn't do himself any favours.
"At times, he could be better. He draws fouls and tries to make most of contact - when they are not fouls."
Hughes had five of his own players booked on Saturday - defenders Erik Pieters, Bruno Martins Indi, Phil Bardsley and Geoff Cameron, as well as midfielder Joe Allen. The Potters then had Bardsley sent off by referee Anthony Taylor in injury time for a second yellow card.
Following Marko Arnautovic's dismissal against Southampton in December, it is the second time a Stoke player has been sent off on home soil by off this season by Mr Taylor, who also had Hughes sent to the stand in the 4-0 home defeat by Tottenham in September.
But Hughes' biggest grouse was the apparent imbalance at the punishments, Chelsea's only cautions having been to Costa early on and substitute Cesc Fabregas.
"They had a few flying into crowds, who could have picked up second yellow cards," he added. "Maybe they've been a bit fortunate in that regard.
"They showed by their reaction just how delighted they were to get something from this game. They'd have been more than happy to take the draw.
"Our performance deserved something. I don't think they deserved to win. We've run the team that will be champions very close, as close as anyone has in recent months.
"A draw would have been fairer, but champion teams keep on going and making things happen. That's what they've done all season."
Diego Costa's disciplinary record with Chelsea
- 2014-15: 37 appearances, 12 bookings
- 2015-16: 41 appearances, 11 bookings, one red card
- 2016-17: 31 appearances, eight bookings
- After getting booked in both Chelsea's first two games this season, he earned two more yellow cards as Antonio Conte's side suffered an indifferent September.
- But Costa did not get his fifth booking until 17 December and his two cautions in Chelsea's last two games against Manchester United and at Stoke were his first since then.