BRANISLAV IVANOVIC is convinced that Chelsea rebel Diego Costa will fight back strongly from being dropped at Tottenham – and has pleaded with the Spaniard to put the team first.
The £32 million striker, whose goals were so crucial in Chelsea winning the title last year, has had a poor season, scoring only four goals.
Costa had a blazing row with manager Jose Mourinho in the midweek Champions League win at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
He has admitted that he came back to training overweight at the start of this season – and last week Mourinho criticised him for not being able to read the game.
On Sunday Costa was dropped to the bench, did not warm up with the rest of the substitutes before the match, or warm down afterwards, and when told he was not coming on after a brief warm up on the side of the pitch towards the end of the match, threw his bib in Mourinho’s direction as he sat back down.
But Ivanovic said: “I expect Diego to come back strongly. We start the season as a team and we have to finish as a team. This is important.
“When we start losing, we all know it's not about the one or two players playing badly or playing well. It's about the team.
“Diego didn't play on Sunday but I know he'll be ready for the next game. He scored against Norwich two weeks ago – the winning goal.
"It's all about the team in the moment. We all have to think about that. Sometimes, for a player who isn't playing it's difficult - but it is a normal situation for the club.”
Ivanovic , still in talks over a new contract with the club, added: “That was a very difficult game for us given our position. We wanted to show our character and show how good we are. We did well.
“We got another clean sheet, which is very important for the confidence of defenders. Our confidence is starting to build. Everyone can feel that. The team spirit is back and we are all again on the right track.
“None of us expected the start that we have had. It was a shock for all of us. It's taken time to react to everything that's happened and get going again. I learnt a lot from that. I know where I made mistakes and I will do everything in the future to not repeat that.”