Diego Costa 'likes to cheat' - Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma
Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has told beIN Sports that striker Diego Costa "likes to cheat," though he later clarified that he did not mean to insult his teammate.
Costa, 26, has come in for criticism after his instigating performance in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
The Spain international clashed with Arsenal defenders Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista in the first half at Stamford Bridge.
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After Costa and Gabriel were both booked, the Arsenal centre-back was sent off for flicking a boot at the Chelsea player.
Zouma, who opened the scoring in the second half, 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.
"That happened in the game but he's a really nice guy. We're proud to have him, like the other players, and we're happy to win this game today."
On Monday, Zouma, 20, wrote on his Twitter account that he did not mean to label Costa as a "cheat."
Sorry for any confusion, English is not my first language & I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating. Simply to say ....- Kurt Zouma (@KurtZouma) September 21, 2015
....Diego is a player who puts pressure on his opponents & who I have huge respect for.- Kurt Zouma (@KurtZouma) September 21, 2015
Speaking after the defeat, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Costa should have been sent off twice.
"I would not like to be [referee] Mike Dean tonight," Wenger told the BBC after the match. "Costa twice should be sent off. He hits him [Koscielny] in the face in purpose. In every game he has aggravation and he gets away with it because of the weakness of the referee."
A Chelsea spokesman said it was unfair to take Zouma's words literally.
"It's a bit harsh to take literally the words of a young player speaking in his second language immediately after a game," said the Chelsea spokesman.
"Kurt is deeply upset that his words have been used to attack a teammate and a friend."