Guus Hiddink says Chelsea must accept Diego Costa’s style of play but insists he should not be considered an “idiot” on the pitch.
Costa will miss Saturday’s Premier League clash with West Ham after being sent off in last weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
The striker escaped punishment over an alleged gesture made to supporters as he left the pitch but could still face further suspension after being charged with improper conduct for his reaction to his dismissal.
But when asked at Friday’s media conference if he should accept that Costa is “a bit of an idiot” during matches, Hiddink replied: “It’s too strong. If you know the definition of an idiot it’s different to him. He has to play as he does, we have to accept that.
“He desperately likes to play. He accepts that he is suspended but he’s not happy with it.
“Everyone wanted to be on his case. It’s a matter of temperament and character.”
Costa was omitted from the Spain squad for their upcoming friendly matches but Hiddink confirmed that was due to a minor hip injury.
“It was a medical issue also by the Spanish coaches and medical team. He has a little problem in the tendon in his hip,” he said, adding that Eden Hazard will also sit out the international break with a similar problem.
Despite Costa missing Saturday’s game with Slaven Bilic’s side, Hiddink believes it is too soon for Radamel Falcao – who stated last week that he felt he had regained full fitness – to be brought back into the starting line-up.
“Falcao, as everyone knows, has had a very difficult time with injuries,” he said. “He has recovered physically and now he has to regain his fitness. He’s been training for 10 days with the first team and we’ll see after the break if he is fully competitive. We have to see how he reacts with the more intensive training.”
Hiddink – who also confirmed that Alexandre Pato will definitely stay until the end of the season, despite some rumours that his loan spell will be cut short – expects a difficult match with a West Ham side who remain firmly in the hunt for the Champions League places.
“I expect a tough match, they are doing very well at home but also away, they’re a courageous team,” he said. “It’s a nice team to watch. And they are in the mood, being in fifth and dreaming of fourth.
“They’ve shown not just character but also that they can play.
“He [Bilic] is a very consistent manager, I’ve had some encounters and he’s very stable, very driven. I think there’s a mutual respect. He’s done many good things.”