Diego Costa says he feels targeted in England and receives harsher punishments than other Premier League players.
The Chelsea striker scored a dramatic late winner as Antonio Conte’s team defeated West Ham on Monday, but only after he had avoided a second yellow card for a foul on goalkeeper Adrian, having earlier been booked for dissent.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic said after the match that Costa would have seen red “nine times out of 10” for the incident, but the Spain international feels the attention he gets is undeserved.
The 27-year-old told ESPN Brasil: “I am aware of [the new dissent law] now. The second time I went to talk to him, he showed me [the yellow card]. I even found it a bit weird, but then I understood. I went to apologise at half-time and that’s it.
“But I’ll be honest, I am targeted here, by the referees, the people – if I do something, it’s totally different than if any other players do. It needs to be seen, that people targeted me.
“It’s something I have to deal with and I ask God that these things don’t disturb me and don’t take the sequence of the games from me, which happens sometimes and gives me suspensions.”
Costa, who has only been sent off once since signing for Chelsea from Atletico Madrid in July 2014, is thankful to have the support of the club’s fans.
He added: “I can’t ask for anything, the crowd here always loved me. It’s a support which I always appreciate. It’s important to get the three points, it’s important to start winning.”