LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea striker Diego Costa has denied he deliberately stamped on Liverpool’s Emre Can but admitted to being no angel on the field.
The Brazilian-born Spain international missed Saturday’s top-of-the-table 1-1 draw with Manchester City after serving the first of a three-game ban for the incident during Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final, second leg victory at Stamford Bridge.
“As far as what happened on Tuesday, the main thing is when I get home I can go home and I can go to sleep knowing that I’ve not done anything wrong, because I never meant to do that and it was not on purpose,” he told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
“And you can clearly see that on the video. But it is a suspension. Obviously I feel sad because I’m not going to be able to help the team, to play. But I have accept it and respect it.
“I’m not saying I’m an angel. I’m no angel. You can see that. But every time I play I will play the same way because that’s the way I am. That’s what I need to do in order to support my family.
“That’s my bread and butter, also that’s what I need to do for this club and for the fans of this club, for the supporters and for all the people involved in this club.”
The 26-year-old has proved an instant hit since joining from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid last year, scoring 17 league goals to help Chelsea open up a five-point lead after 23 matches in the English Premier League.
He has, though, received heavy criticism for Tuesday’s actions, which followed accusations of diving on more than one occasion.
Costa was also involved in a spat with American goalkeeper Tim Howard in August after Everton boss Roberto Martinez accused him of taunting Seamus Coleman following a Chelsea goal.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has accused television pundits of tarnishing his striker’s reputation and has shunned talking to the media since the club failed to overturn the violent conduct suspension on Friday.
Costa, who will also miss fixtures at Aston Villa and home to Everton, defended his actions and said he would not change his competitive streak.
“On the pitch I transform myself, I really, really want to win,” said Costa, who is named after Argentine World Cup-winning great Diego Maradona.
“You have to see how many times have I injured someone. Never. I’ve never injured another colleague, another player on purpose. I’m not going to change the way I play because I got banned for a few games now.”