Antonio Conte says the referee “made the right decision” to not send off Diego Costa before his 89th minute goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge.
Already on a yellow, Costa caught West Ham keeper Adrian high on his shin in the second half, but the referee deemed it not to be deliberate.
The 47-year-old Conte said he “did not see” the tackle, before adding: “I saw Costa put pressure on the keeper and then try to stop,” the Chelsea head coach told Sky Sports.
“Diego is a good player and a passionate man – sometimes it happens that he can receive a yellow card.
“I think in the situation with Adriano, he made the right decision.”
In relation to the tackle, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic concluded it had no malicious intent, but hinted it possibly deserved a second booking.
“It was not reckless or deliberate, but it was quite late,” Bilic said.
“He could have been booked again and so a red card. I am not frustrated because of that, I am frustrated because of the late goal.”
James Collins cancelled out Eden Hazard’s 47th minute penalty, before Diego Costa calmly finished to secure the three points in the closing stages of the match.
Conte, living up to his reputation as an animated character on the touchline, rushed to embrace fans in celebrating Costa’s winner.
The Italian, after admitting he was not relaxed in the lead-up to Chelsea’s Premier League opener, jokingly added he might not sleep because of the win.
“I knew the Premier League only through television. I played against English teams in the Champions League and Europa League, but playing this league is very difficult,” he said.
“There is a great intensity in the Premier League and it’s very physical. I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight because the adrenaline is high.”