Kurt Zouma: Chelsea man 'sorry' at Diego Costa 'cheat' remark

By Mandeep SangheraBBC Sport
Costa likes to cheat a lot - Zouma

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is "sorry" about comments he made that team-mate Diego Costa "likes to cheat a lot".

Zouma, 20, made the remarks after Chelsea's win over Arsenal on Saturday when striker Costa clashed with Gunners centre-back Gabriel, who was sent off.

"Sorry for any confusion. English is not my first language. I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating," he said.

Spain international Costa, 26, has since been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

Frenchman Zouma added Costa was "a player who puts pressure on his opponents and who I have huge respect for".

Chelsea have spoken to Zouma about his initial remarks, which were made in a television interview immediately after the 2-0 win over Arsenal.

"Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponents out of his game, and that happened in the game," Zouma told beIN Sports.

Chelsea boss Mourinho clashes with press over Costa

"He's a real nice guy in the life and we are very proud to have him."

Zouma scored the opening goal for the Blues in their victory at Stamford Bridge when he nodded in a Cesc Fabregas free-kick at the far post.

"It's harsh to take literally the words of a young player spoken in his second language immediately after a game," said a Chelsea spokesperson.

"He is deeply upset his words have been used to attack a team-mate and friend."

Costa puts his hands in the face of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny before rowing with Gabriel.

The Chelsea forward and Gabriel were booked by referee Mike Dean and the latter was dismissed for a second yellow when he kicked out at Costa in the aftermath.

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