Controversial Chelsea striker Diego Costa insisted on Sunday that he did not bite the neck of Gareth Barry during his team’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Everton.
The fiery Chelsea star was shown a second yellow card by referee Michael Oliver after 84 minutes following an altercation with the Everton midfielder in which he moved his head towards his opponent and appeared to place his mouth on his neck in an attempted bite.
However, Costa was adamant that there was no foul play after a defeat which effectively ended Chelsea’s season.
“Diego spoke to club officials after the game and expressed regret over his reaction to the challenge from Gareth Barry that led to his red card,” said a Chelsea statement.
“But Diego was also very clear that he did not bite him at any point during that altercation.”
To add to the late drama at Goodison Park, Barry was also booked in the flashpoint and received a second yellow card of his own in the dying minutes after fouling Cesc Fabregas.
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink refused to condemn Costa after the first sending off of his Blues career.
LAUGHED OFF THE INCIDENT
The Dutchman even managed to laugh off the incident, with reference to the Hollywood movie “Anger Management”.
“There are movies about that,” said Hiddink when asked if he will advise his player to seek counselling.
“I have seen that film. Maybe we will go and watch it together. I try to be fair in my judgement and I haven’t seen it (the incident) so far. But without wanting to give a judgement, he was chased a bit in the game as well.
“They went after him, they know it. It’s within the rules but, as a referee, you must protect the situation a little bit. I’m not saying ‘PROTECT’ with capitals, but knowing and feeling the atmosphere, the little provocations.”
Any FA punishment will depend on referee Oliver’s report although Hiddink repeated his often-stated position of insisting he does not want Costa to alter his combative style.
Barry later on Sunday stated that Costa did not bite him during the Merseyside club’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory.
“Seen a lot of talk about the incident involving me and Diego Costa in the game last night,” Barry wrote on the Fanzai app. “For the record Diego did not bite me.”