Guus Hiddink has leapt to Diego Costa’s defence after the Chelsea striker was branded a fraud by Paris Saint-Germain ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash.
The Blues host the French champions at Stamford Bridge, aiming to overturn a 2-1 deficit from last month’s reverse fixture of their last-16 tie at the Parc des Princes.
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PSG have lit the touch paper ahead of the second leg by attacking Costa, who has worn a protective face mask in recent weeks to protect his broken nose, on social media.
The runaway Ligue 1 leaders uploaded a montage of masked superheroes to their Twitter account, which included the masked Costa, and asked their followers to ‘find the fraud’.
Did you spot the hero? Ok, now it’s time to find the fraud… https://t.co/pkKAUdV1pP
— PSG English (@PSG_English) March 8, 2016
But Hiddink has supported the combative Spain international, insisting that he is “proud” of the temperament that Costa has shown since he returned to Chelsea in December.
“I’m very proud of him the way he’s playing and, going not over the edge, but he likes to fight in the real way of the game,” Hiddink is quoted saying by Sky Sports. “That’s what we like. I protect him and support him when he’s doing what he has done in my period at Chelsea.”
Although he has served two retrospective three-match bans, Costa has never been sent off during his time at Chelsea, so his ill-discipline may not be Hiddink’s prime concern.
But Chelsea’s interim boss might be more worried about his fitness and Champions League form. Costa, who sat out Saturday’s 2-2 draw with a minor tendon problem, according to Sky Sports, has scored only one goal in 14 appearances for the Blues in Europe’s top club competition.
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