LONDON — Jose Mourinho was in a combative mood after Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday, as the Blues boss was hit with a barrage of questions about the conduct of his forward, Diego Costa, who he claimed was his “man of the match” despite the striker being involved in several unsavory moments.
[ MORE: Three things learned from Chelsea’s win ]
Costa, 26, stayed on the pitch despite flailing his arms at Arsenal defenders on numerous occasions in the first half, see the video above, which led to a reaction from Gabriel who was subsequently sent off on the stroke of half time and Chelsea scored two second half goals to seal a huge win against their London rivals.
After the game, Arsene Wenger complained readily about Costa getting away with those actions and Mourinho had the following to say when told about Wenger’s comments, as the two managers continue their bitter feud despite Mourinho making a point of offering to shake Wenger’s hand before the game.
“My view is this, that is why sometimes I am very proud of my people and my clubs,” Mourinho said. “I have played against Arsenal 12, 15, 18 times, I don’t know. Only once, he didn’t moan. In that day we lost the game, we lost the cup, it was not good for us. We behaved in a fantastic way, no excuses, not crying. Not moaning, just Mr. Jose Mourinho, my players and Chelsea Football Club.”
Mourinho has never lost a competitive game against Wenger, only the FA Community Shield back at August in Wembley. The Portuguese coach made a point of praising his team for keeping their cool in the cauldron of a London derby between two title contenders, as the Gunners went down to nine-men.
“I told my players before the game, to win derbies you need emotional control. Without emotional control forget it, you don’t win,” Mourinho said. “It is something I repeat every derby, you don’t win without emotional control.”
Mourinho struggled with emotional control of his own during his post-game press conference.
Asked if Costa should be retrospectively banned for his actions against Arsenal defenders Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel, Mourinho was incensed.
“I think you should speak about Gabriel Paulista,” bellowed Mourinho. “Good player, you should speak about him and his mistake. If you want to speak about Diego Costa with me, it is just to say he played like he has to play. That is why you have full stadiums, you sell to television stations all around the world for millions, because the game has to be played like that.
“That is why tomorrow, I go to [Rugby World Cup],” Mourinho added. “It is comparable in terms of dedication and passion, I go to New Zealand vs. Argentina. I love it. Diego… fantastic.”
Mourinho then attempted to avoid more questions about Costa’s antics from journalists, before bizarrely suggesting one member of the media was a badminton player. He then suggested that for him, Costa was the “Man of the Match” on Saturday.
As for Wenger, he was furious that Costa was not sent off and berated referee Mike Dean.
“He can do what he wants and he stays on and everybody else who responds to him, they have to be sent off,” Wenger sneered. “I think it is unacceptable, his behavior. If you look at the pictures of what he did to [Laurent] Koscielny before he pushes him down, he hits him in the face. He always gets away with it. It is surprising. I don’t understand Mike Dean’s decision at all. Why does Diego Costa stay on the pitch? Okay, I accept Gabriel has to be sent off. Also, on their first goal I could not see a free kick against us.”
Asked if the FA should retrospectively ban Costa, Wenger was flippant in his response.
“That’s the least they could do but he will do the same next week and the week after and he always gets away with it,” Wenger added. “For me he is always in provocation. He used well the naivety of referee Mike Dean today.”
Chelsea and Arsenal’s bitter battle for supremacy in London continues, as Mourinho and Wenger, with a little help from their players, did little during and after the game to subdue the ill feelings between the two title contenders.