Mata: “I would rather have Costa as a teammate than a rival

Mata: “I would rather have Costa as a teammate than a rival

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Juan Mata has defended Chelsea forward and international teammate Diego Costa and his aggressive style of play, despite the Brazil-born striker having just completed a three match ban for his scuffle with Laurent Koscielny in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal.

Costa has failed to find any of form that he did last season. But Mata, who Chelsea sold to Manchester United in 2013, believes that Costa’s style of play is his biggest asset, and that it makes him very difficult to play against.

Speaking ahead of the Spain’s two Euro 2016 qualifiers, Mata said this about Costa, who has been left out of the squad by Vicente del Bosque:

“It’s very difficult to face him. I’d rather have him as a team-mate than a rival. 

“With his movement and his goals he always creates problems, and also because he fights with the centre-backs and causes friction that somehow knocks the opponents’ concentration.

“That’s his game and it has always been that way. It’s not new. Now it seems to have been noticed more because he’s in the Premier League and it’s different from what was there before, but he has always played well.”

“It’s not easy to be the striker in a team like ours, with two midfielders.

“You have to adapt and be patient, because a lot of time can pass without touching the ball but then you have to finish well.

“It’s very complicated and players like [Fernando] Torres and [David] Villa did very well, but for the forward it’s difficult to come and adapt.”