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Ivanovic expects Costa to come back stronger

Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea's captain in the injury-enforced absence of John Terry, believes Diego Costa will react to his omission from the team in the 0-0 draw with Spurs in a positive way.

Costa remained on the bench for the duration of the Barclays Premier League showdown at White Hart Lane and in the final moments tossed his substitutes' bib over his shoulder in the direction of Jose Mourinho.

Costa wears the infamous pink bib. Credit: Reuters

"I expect Diego to come back strongly. We start the season as a team and we have to finish as a team," Ivanovic said.

"Sometimes for a player who isn't playing it's difficult but it is a normal situation for the club.

"This is important. When we start losing we all know it's not about the one or two players playing badly or playing well - it's about the team.

"Diego didn't play against Tottenham but he'll be ready for the next game.

"He scored against Norwich - the winning goal. It's all about the team. We all have to think about that."


Chelsea boss Mourinho plays down Costa bib incident

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho played down any suggestion of a falling-out with Diego Costa after dropping the striker for Sunday's goalless draw at Tottenham.

Costa was not used at White Hart Lane as Mourinho lost patience with the striker, who tossed his substitutes' bib over his shoulder in the direction of his manager in the final moments of a goalless draw which will do little to kick-start the Barclays Premier League champions' season.

Costa was left on the bench as Chelsea drew 0-0 with Spurs. Credit: Reuters

Mourinho said: "If he wants to hurt me, it's not with a bib. I have a good relationship with him, no problems.

"I think Diego is very privileged because he was the last one to be (put) on the bench.

"Everybody was on the bench. I kept him in the team for all these matches and today we thought the best strategy to play was this one. We are happy with the decision."

Costa did not warm up ahead of the game and appeared pitch-side with trainers, rather than boots on, broadcasters sitting near the Chelsea bench reported.

Mourinho says Costa warmed up when instructed to do so.

"A top player going on the bench, they are not happy," Mourinho added.

"For me his behaviour was normal. He was ready to play when they went to warm up."

Pochettino: Chelsea can still make top four

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino still expects Chelsea to challenge for the top four this season.

The Blues are enduring a nightmare start to their title defence and will arrive at White Hart Lane on Sunday 10 points and 10 places behind their London rivals.

Mourinho and Chelsea will make the top four, says Pochettino. Credit: PA

Spurs, in fifth, are favourites to pick up three points and heap more misery on Jose Mourinho's stuttering side.

But Pochettino is conscious Chelsea have had two more days to prepare for the clash against a Tottenham squad who only arrived back from a gruelling 5,000-mile round trip to Azerbaijan on Friday morning.

"Chelsea have very good players and a great manager," said Pochettino. "It's always difficult to speak about another team because when you are outside that club you do not know what is going on and it is difficult to analyse.

"Sometimes teams have bad results and that can change a very good team. But they have time to recover and come back still this season.

"They also have extra days to prepare for our match. I am expecting a very tough game because they have very good players."


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