LONDON: The confrontation between Chelsea and the Football Association’s disciplinary authorities has been ramped up a further notch by Diego Costa’s decision to contest three-match ban for his apparent stamp on the Liverpool’s Emre Can during Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.
The incident – one of several during an action-packed 120 minutes – happened in close proximity to the dugouts, but was missed by referee Michael Oliver who acknowledged later that it would have been a red card offence.
Costa was banned for three matches but has appealed under FA’s fast-track system which means his appeal will be heard on Friday, just 24 hours before Chelsea’s important home Premier League match against closest top-of-the-table pursuers Manchester City.
Chelsea also announced they will not be staging the usual pre-match press conference, a manoeuvre to keep manager Jose Mourinho out of the media firing line after his £25,000 fine this week for alleging a “clear campaign” against his side.
Those comments came following the draw at Southampton on December 28, with the Portuguese making similar comments after Tuesday’s 1-0 win against Liverpool when defending Costa.
He had said: “I don’t know what you understand by stamp,” Mourinho said.
“I think maybe you are already influenced by… I’m going to use a word which put me in trouble but I think this time I cannot be punished to say that there is a campaign on the television with a certain pundit that is saying Diego Costa ‘crimes’. This guy must be nuts.
“I saw the incidents. About the penalty, I don’t speak. I prefer not to speak. If I comment I will be in trouble and I don’t want to be.
“What you call stamps and Sky calls crimes, I have to say absolutely accidental. He goes to the ball, he chases the ball, as the opponent is on the floor, they have a contact, he puts his foot there when he’s looking to the ball.”