Chelsea striker Diego Costa is contesting the Football Association charge against him regarding the incident involving Liverpool defender Emre Can on Tuesday evening during the first half of the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.
The former Atletico Madrid frontman was charged by the FA on Wednesday evening and was given until 6pm today to reply – and he has decided to contest the charge, with the full support of his club.
Spain international Costa appeared to purposely stamp on German centre-back Can during the feisty encounter in west London on Tuesday evening, but referee Michael Oliver did not see the altercation and so a charge was brought against him after the official viewed retrospective footage.
The appeal cannot delay the verdict beyond Saturday’s crunch Premiership encounter between leaders Chelsea and second placed Manchester City, so Costa is trying the last option he has to feature in the match.
And Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has come out in fierce defence of his player after the game with claims that there is a campaign against his striker being orchestrated by a “pundit”.
“I don’t know what you understand by stamp.” Mourinho said.
“I think maybe you are already influenced by… I’m going to use a word which put me in trouble but I think this time I cannot be punished to say that there is a campaign on the television with a certain pundit that is saying Diego Costa ‘crimes’. This guy must be nuts.
“I saw the incidents. About the penalty, I don’t speak. I prefer not to speak. If I comment I will be in trouble and I don’t want to be.
“What you call stamps and Sky calls crimes, I have to say absolutely accidental. He goes to the ball, he chases the ball, as the opponent is on the floor, they have a contact, he puts his foot there when he’s looking to the ball.” the Portuguese concluded.
If Costa’s appeal is unsuccessful, the mandatory three match suspension could be increased by the FA panel.