Gary Cahill hailed the goalscoring response of Diego Costa after the Chelsea striker hit back at reports of a row with Antonio Conte by helping to sink Hull City on Sunday.
A back injury kept Costa out of last weekend’s win at Leicester City, but the game was overshadowed by intense reports that the Spain striker’s desire to move to the Chinese Super League had led to a falling out with his head coach.
Recovered and rejuvenated, Costa opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time before using his celebration to make a clear point in downplaying the talk that has swirled around him.
Cahill wrapped up the win with 10 minutes to play, easing nerves around Stamford Bridge that had been frayed by a tenacious Hull side, and the Blues skipper was delighted with a hard-earned win that moved Chelsea eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.
“He’s obviously delighted to come back,” Cahill said of Costa to Sky Sports. “There is a lot of talk when something happens.
“He misses one game and you’re reading about all these stories every single day.
“That probably gets a bit tiring for him. We are delighted to have him back and scoring, which he’s been doing all season.”
Cahill added: “It was a good weekend for us before we kicked a ball today
“When you get opportunities in the season, they don’t come around too often and you have to try and capitalise on them. With the win we did that.
“When it’s 1-0 late on in the game anything can happen. They gave it a big go.
“I was lucky to get on the end of the cross from Cesc [Fabregas] and the cushion was there then.
“I see a healthy gap for us. We were determined to keep the gap there.
“It’s a big two or three weeks coming up for us. We’ve got over the first hurdle and we’ve got two massive games coming up [against Liverpool and Arsenal].
“We wanted to go into those games with a gap.”
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