Diego Costa: Gary Cahill defends Chelsea team-mate's approach

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Chelsea defender Gary Cahill defends team-mate Diego Costa

Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill has defended team-mate Diego Costa's physical approach to the game.

The striker, 26, contests a Football Association violent conduct charge for an alleged stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can in their League Cup semi-final tie.

Cahill told the BBC's Football Focus: "It's his character. It's the way he plays. He's a handful for a defender.

"One of his attributes, as well as his skills and scoring fantastic goals, is that he puts his foot in."

Cahill added: "He makes it difficult and uncomfortable for defenders.

"Would you change him? Probably not, and I don't think you should. Certainly as a team-mate, he's somebody you want in your team.

"It's a strength he has. You have seen how good he is with his feet and how skilful he is for a big guy but the way he has adapted to the Premier League - he is a physical guy."

Costa has scored 17 Premier League goals for leaders Chelsea since signing from Atletico Madrid, for a fee understood to be £32m, in July.

The striker has been booked eight times since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, and has also picked up two yellow cards this season playing for Spain.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side was beaten in the second leg of the semi-final at Stamford Bridge to lose the tie on aggregate, admitted he had previously wanted to sign the Brazil-born player.

Rodgers said: "We were interested in him because he was an outstanding player.

"You will find all players have that edge, especially the best ones. But he's a wonderful player and that's all I need to say."

He contests the FA charge which could see him given a three-match ban.

Watch Football Focus on Saturday 31 January at 12:10 GMT on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

Martin Skrtel and Diego Costa
Chelsea striker Costa (right) is the leading scorer in the Premier League with 17 goals
Gary Cahill and Diego Costa
Cahill and Costa were on opposite sides last season as Atletico Madrid beat Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Champions League

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