Antonio Conte has thanked Diego Costa after the Chelsea forward’s January move to Atletico Madrid was confirmed.
Chelsea and Atletico agreed a deal, estimated to be worth up to €60million, on Thursday, which is set to go through in full when a medical has been passed and personal terms are agreed.
Conte and Costa, who has been at Stamford Bridge since 2014, were involved in a major feud after the Chelsea boss made it clear the striker would not be part of his plans for 2017-18 despite winning the Premier League last season.
Atletico were under a transfer ban in the most recent window meaning there was no urgency to wrap up a deal, but now an agreement is in place Conte is keen to move on.
“We want to thank him for what he did with this club,” Conte said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match away to Stoke City.
“We wish him all the best for the future. I don’t forget that we won together last season.
“I repeat, for sure, we want to thank him for his effort last season with us, but not only last season but in the period he played for Chelsea.”
Antonio Conte reports that Danny Drinkwater is the only injured player ruled out tomorrow. #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 22, 2017
Conte did not want to get drawn into how bad his relationship with Costa, who was AWOL for the start of the season, had become and insisted the Chelsea squad were never distracted by the saga.
“I think my team always focused on our work on the pitch,” said the Italian.
“This is very important. We have to continue what we did in the past, we were very focused only on our own work and this is the right way if you want to build something important.
“Now it [how bad the Costa relationship got] is not important, I’m not interested to continue talking about this issue.
“I’m working with my players and very happy to work with these players.
“I repeat, I’m not interested to talk about the past. The past is not important, for every coach and every single player the past stays there.
“If you did well in the past it is OK, but I think we have to work for the present and above all for the future to try to build something important for this club.”
For his part, Costa has insisted he feels “no bitterness” with anyone at Chelsea after his exit was sealed.
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