Diego Costa has been reportedly warned over his behaviour following his public showing of agitation at Antonio Conte and the rest of the Chelsea coaching staff on Saturday.
The combative Spaniard appeared to grow disenchanted by Conte’s second-half substitutions during the 3-0 defeat of Leicester City, but ESPN FC picks up several reports that Costa was instead irritated by his manager’s criticism on the sidelines.
This is contrary to the earlier reports which suggested Costa was asking to be replaced in order to avoid injury, or sidestep his fifth booking of the season and therefore suspension next Sunday against Manchester United.
Costa’s on-pitch conduct has often been a source of consternation, with his abrasive approach and play-acting regularly going undetected by officials but drawing bookings for his wound-up opponents. The club, however, has apparently grown tired of his lack of respect for those calling the shots.
“If I can, Costa I keep him until the end. I can take the risk about this, for a yellow card or for injury,” Conte told reporters after the weekend tilt, before warning: “I decide.”
Costa’s poor conduct has precedence. The 28-year-old was involved in several spats with former boss Jose Mourinho, while several of their disagreements occurring in clear view. The most notable incident came last year, when the striker threw his bib in the direction of the Portuguese when it transpired he’d go unused in a goaless draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
Now, with his alleged disinclination to listen to Conte, Costa is risking disciplinary action by the club or, simply, an exit from Stamford Bridge before the current agreement of summer 2019 comes to an end.