Man United legend disagrees with Liverpool boss’ Diego Costa remark

Gary Neville defends Chelsea striker Diego Costa after three-game ban

Gary Neville has disagreed with Brendan Rodgers’ assessment of Diego Costa after Chelsea beat Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final on Tuesday night.

The Reds manager claimed that the controversial Spain international was not good for the game after he stamped on Emre Can and clashed with Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Costa is horrible to play against and I applaud him for it

Gary Neville

Costa, who has scored 17 goals in 19 Premier League appearances this season, received a three-game ban from the FA for violent conduct following the incident with Liverpool’s German defender.

However, former Manchester United defender Neville was quick to defend the 26-year-old striker, insisting that Costa is having a positive impact on the English game.

“Brendan Rodgers argued afterwards that Costa’s behaviour was not good for the game,” Neville wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.

“I actually felt it made the game. It was everything I expect to see in a high-intensity, quality game, and I have even more faith now in the piece I wrote three weeks ago, where I talked about this Chelsea team potentially dragging up the level of their rivals, so that we see high quality technical games in the Premier League with rivalry, passion and fight.”

Neville added that he would applaud Costa for his horrible style of play, likening the Brazilian-born forward to Carlos Tevez and Luis Suarez.

“The first line of any book I would write on football philosophy is: “Be horrible to play against.” Diego Costa is horrible to play against and I applaud him for it,” Neville added.

“Be horrible means: keep possession, run their legs down, run the clock down if you have to, be organised and compact, don’t get messed around physically and mentally by your opponent, test him every minute.

“There are players around now who fit that bill: Carlos Tevez, Alexis Sanchez, Luis Suarez and definitely Costa, whose conduct against Liverpool on Tuesday night prompted, in my view, a massive over-reaction.”

Costa signed a four-year deal with the Blues after he moved to the west London side in a £32m deal from Atletico Madrid in the summer.

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