"We had problems off the pitch": Diego Costa on Antonio Conte at Chelsea
Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa has admitted he and Conte had problems off the pitch at Chelsea, but said he has no hard feeling towards the Italian manager.
Costa was once the primary goalscorer for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea in 2016/17.
The Spanish international netted 20 times that season and helped Conte to win the Premier League title in his first season at Stamford Bridge.
But it all turned sour after the infamous text message Conte sent to Costa declaring the striker was out of his plan for the following season.
It was chaotic.
The board were not happy as it weakened their negotiation position in the transfer market. Also, it made little sense sporting-wise to sell the club’s top scorer.
Costa refused to be back for the pre-season and eventually went back to Atletico Madrid in 2018.
Costa has now opened up about his relationship with Conte and believes the manager needs to change his man-management approach.
He told ESPN: “We [Conte and I] had problems off the pitch, but I think he is a really good manager.
“I have no hard feelings towards Conte.
“But to be a top, top manager, he needs to change the human side of his management. He is very suspicious.
“At a [club] like, say, Real Madrid, he would never last a season.”
After losing Costa, Chelsea brought his fellow countryman Alvaro Morata as a replacement.
However, Morata failed to made an instant impact as he scored just 11 goals from 31 Premier League appearances in 2017/18.
The Blues failed to secure a Champions League spot which unsurprisingly led to Conte’s exit at the end of the season.