Man City’s Pellegrini hopes stamping ban will change “top player” Costa

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini took the microphone shortly after it was announced that Chelsea’s Diego Costa would miss Saturday’s critical match with a suspension for stamping Emre Can in the League Cup semifinal (won by the Blues).

Though Pellegrini could’ve been forgiven for doing a jig over the absence of Chelsea’s star striker, he chose to play it a little closer to the vest. Pellegrini said Costa is a tremendous player, and he hopes this is a wake-up call for the oft-fouling superstar.

[ MORE: Costa PL villain No. 1? ]

Costa has been banned three matches for the stamp, an offense that could’ve been six matches had referee Michael Oliver caught his earlier match stamp on Martin Skrtel.

From The Mirror:

“I think he is s very good player, a very important player,” said Pellegrini.

“Maybe he is not an easy character, but I hope with this punishment that it will be a good thing for him for him to change a little bit in the future.

“He does not need to do that kind of thing because he is a top player.”

He also doesn’t need to do that sort of thing because it’s cowardly and dangerous, but we digress (And Chelsea fans, spare us the, ‘Hey, every team fouls’ line. Twenty wrongs don’t make one right…).

Pellegrini also cautioned against treating this big match as the be-all, end-all of the title hopes for his club. City is five points back of Chelsea with 16 matches to play, and it’s easy to argue with the man that 8 points back with 15 to go would leave their title odds quite poor.