Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says he was in favour of his side’s team night out in midweek, adding that Diego Costa’s future remains at Stamford Bridge despite speculation to the contrary.
A number of Chelsea players, including Costa, were pictured partying in London this week, just days after the Spain international was dropped to the bench following an apparent spat with Mourinho.
Costa – who has just three league goals to his name – was spotted arguing with Mourinho during the Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv last week, before failing to fully take part in the warm-up ahead of a goalless Premier League draw at Tottenham and hurling a bib in Mourinho’s direction on the bench.
The incidents have seen Costa linked with an exit, but Mourinho said on Friday: “I don’t know why [there is speculation on his future]. There are no question marks for me. He always gives his best.
“He has always played. He was on the bench for one match, which I think is more than natural. No problems at all. I think he always gives his best, sometimes he is phenomenal, other times he is not.
“He always tries but I don’t have a problem that I need a reaction from him. I just need him to be what he is and try hard.”
Victories over Norwich City and Maccabi, coupled with Sunday’s draw against Spurs, have improved morale at Stamford Bridge after a dismal start to their campaign.
While there was plenty of attention on Chelsea’s midweek party, Mourinho claimed the press had targeted certain players.
“I think the paparazzi had a problem with their memory cards because there were 25 players inside and they only got three,” the Portuguese added.
“The ones that come out before Diego Costa, no-one was with their memory cards, also the paparazzi had to go home immediately after to have only got three guys when there are 25 there.
“It was a free night for them and we know that and choose the week without three matches. It is a week where everything was calm and they could train and rest with no accumulation of matches.
“They consulted me about a moment and I told them [it needed to be] a bit far from Christmas because Christmas will be busy so they choose this week. I agree completely.
“The next morning in training everyone was really good. They needed that and I’m happy, the paparazzi was not the best.
“They told me dinner was good and after dinner was even better, so everyone is happy.”