Antonio Conte has demanded Diego Costa keep frustrating his rivals in a bid to help Chelsea win trophies.
The Spaniard has been a controversial character since moving to England in 2014 and his antics have seen him invite the ire of a number of opponents.
Costa is a striker who appears to be at his best when involved in an ongoing duel with a defender, or indeed when walking the tightrope with the referee.
Monday’s 2-1 win over West Ham was exactly one of these situations, as the 27-year-old earned a yellow card early on and then rode his luck throughout the game before scoring the winner in the closing stages.
The boss says that is exactly how he wants to see the Spanish international play as he feels it will bring the best out of him in the Blues’ bid for the Premier League title.
He said: “We all know Diego and Diego is a passionate footballer. Sometimes it can seem that he is always on the edge when he plays.
“But I think that Diego is a good guy, a good player and he puts his passion into football when he plays. I’m happy for his attitude, for his behaviour.
“Sometimes when many people or players talk about one player, it’s very difficult for the player to play in a relaxed way. You always stay at the centre of attention. But he must play his football, he must pay attention in that situation. But we are happy for his attitude.”
Chelsea travel to Watford on Saturday and, having made a winning start to the new campaign, punters may use their free bet to back the Blues to take all three points at Vicarage Road.