Guus Hiddink praises Diego Costa in 'spectacular' Chelsea win at Arsenal
Guus Hiddink hailed Chelsea's "spectacular" 1-0 victory at 10-man Arsenal and praised Diego Costa's focus after the striker's goal dented the Gunners' Premier League title hopes and moved the champions seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Costa converted a pinpoint Branislav Ivanovic cross on 23 minutes to break the deadlock at Emirates Stadium, shortly after tempting Per Mertesacker into a rash challenge as the last man that earned the Arsenal defender a straight red card from referee Mark Clattenburg.
Chelsea failed to find a second goal but weathered spells of sustained Arsenal pressure after the break to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions since the departure of Jose Mourinho, and move up to 13th in the Premier League.
Asked by Sky Sports if he considered beating Arsenal away from home a spectacular result, Hiddink replied: "I think so. I'm proud of the guys who performed as they did. We had a good first half, we played well. In the second half we played OK, though I thought we could have materialised it more than we did.
"We played [well] for a big part of the game and we tried to defend forwards. When you come here and wait for them, they are so skilful you are beaten, so you have to take the initiative. We did that in a big part [of the game], some parts not and then they are dangerous."
After the match Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger accused Costa of deliberately getting Mertesacker sent off, but Hiddink was full of praise for his rejuvenated striker's match-winning performance.
"He is focusing on his first job," Hiddink said of Costa. "There are no big conversations [about temperament] but we talk. [I tell him] 'Don't waste any energy which you don't need. You need the energy to put in to what you're good at.' He's focusing on that and finally it's paying off."
Costa left the field in pain after picking up a knee injury on 68 minutes, but Hiddink is hopeful that the Spain international's latest injury scare is nothing to worry about, saying: "We'll do some scans but I don't think it's very serious."
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Chelsea lie 14 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham after 23 Premier League matches despite recording their second win since Hiddink's return, but captain John Terry is adamant that the Blues will not give up on salvaging a Champions League place until it is too late.
"Everyone is beating everyone still," he insisted. "It's surprising every weekend. It's a tough league this year so if we can put a good run of games together, keep playing like we have done and show the spirit that we have, we're not writing anything off.
"We're still in the Champions League and we'll keep fighting in the league until there are no more points to play for."