Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma says team-mate Diego Costa is not a cheat, despite claiming earlier in the week that he did break the rules of the game.
Spain striker Costa is currently serving a three-match ban for his actions against Laurent Koscienly and Gabriel in the derby win over Arsenal last week, which were not seen by referee Mike Dean.
Speaking to BeIN Sports earlier this week, Zouma said: “No, we’re not surprised because we know Diego. Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponent out of his game.”
However, Zouma has now back-tracked on those comments and has admitted his “mistake” and he says that Costa understands exactly what he was meant to say.
“I never thought Diego is a cheat. He is a friend. I like this guy. On the pitch he gives everything for the club and the team. I hope he will continue like this. He should not change,” Zouma told The Evening Standard.
“He is clever because he likes to put a guy off his game, so he loses control. Diego knows what he has to do.”
Centre-back Zouma, who has taken John Terry’s place in the team on several occasions this season, says the public perception of Costa is far from his actual persona.
“In training he jokes a lot. He is so friendly. Diego is the craziest guy in the club. He is too funny. Everybody is very happy to have Diego in the team,” added Zouma.