Tottenham legend: I hated Diego Costa last season, but now I love the Chelsea striker

Garth Crooks lavishes praise on Chelsea striker Diego Costa

Garth Crooks has admitted that he is starting to love Diego Costa after the Chelsea striker scored a late winner in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge.

The Spain international has made an excellent start to the 2016-17 season under Antonio Conte after the Italian coach took over the reins from Guus Hiddink in the summer.

Costa endured a miserable second season in the Premier League after the 28-year-old centre-forward managed to net just 12 times in 28 top-flight appearances as the Blues finished in tenth place.

However, the former Atletico Madrid striker netted an incredible 11 times in 14 Premier League games ahead of the visit of West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

And Costa proved to be the west London side’s match-winner – again, with the Spanish centre-forward managed to steal possession from Gareth McAuley and fire a finish past Ben Foster.

While Crooks revealed that he hated Costa last season, the former Tottenham man admitted the Chelsea star is quickly winning him over with his match-winning performances.

“I hated this player last season and now I am starting to love him. What a finish, what a performance and what a victory for Chelsea. One goal was always going to decide this fixture and it was a simple matter of who was going to make the first mistake,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“Unfortunately for West Brom, it was Gareth McAuley, who has been outstanding for the Baggies once again this season. He let Diego Costa in on a pass he had no right to win and what then took place was quite extraordinary.

“Costa, having won what appeared to be a lost cause, took aim from the most acute angle and curled a sensational shot into the top corner. Costa seems to be putting all his efforts into his game and seems to be less concerned with setting fires all over the pitch.”

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