Zouma backtracks after saying Diego Costa ‘likes to cheat a lot’

Kurt Zouma has apologised on Twitter after saying that team-mateDiego Costa ‘likes to cheat a lot’ during a post-match interview.

Zouma was asked about his Chelsea team-mate Costa at the weekend, telling a TV reporter that the feisty striker “likes to cheat a lot” after his bust-up with Gabriel got the Arsenal defender sent off.

The young defender made the remarks in a post-match TV interview with Qatari network beIN Sports, reported by the Daily Mirror, following Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday.

After the story blew up on Monday, Zouma took to social media to apologise and clarify that he mis-spoke, blaming his imperfect English for any confusion.

Chelsea Football Club also tried to spin Zouma’s words, with a spokesman saying on Monday that, “‘it’s a bit harsh to take literally the words of a young player speaking in his second language immediately after a game”

“Kurt is deeply upset that his words have been used to attack a team-mate and a friend,” the spokesman added.

Reporter Carrie Brown had asked the Frenchman: “Of course Arsenal will feel hard done-by, they will claim you should have had a player sent-off in Diego Costa but this is a player that’s famed for riling other players isn’t it? Are you surprised that they reacted in this way?”

Gabriel, Diego Costa
Gabriel, Diego Costa – Reuters

Zouma replied: “No, we’re not surprised because we know Diego. Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponent out of his game.

“That happened in the game but he’s a really nice guy. We’re proud to have him, like the other players, and we’re happy to win this game today.”

You can see the interview below:

 

The incident began when Costa grappled in the box with Laurent Koscielny, swinging his arm into the defender’s face before the two squared up and the Spanish striker shoved him to the ground.

Gabriel helped his team-mate up and a lengthy dispute between the defender and Costa erupted. Both were booked by referee Mike Dean before Gabriel then kicked out at the striker.

The defender received a straight red card and had to be escorted off the pitch by a match-day steward.

The pair have previous from their days in Spain when Gabriel, then at Villarreal, went to ground theatrically after receiving a nudge from the then Atletico Madrid striker.

Costa is waiting to hear whether he will face retrospective action from the FA for his role in the incident that led to Gabriel’s sending off at Stamford Bridge.