Thibaut Courtois insists Chelsea’s players have never doubted Diego Costa’s commitment, despite the negative headlines of the past week.
The Spain striker is back in contention to play in the Super Sunday clash with Hull after being dropped from the squad for last Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Leicester.
Although the official reason given for his absence then was a back injury, Sky sources understand Costa was involved in a training ground row with manager Antonio Conte following a £30m-a-year offer from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian.
However, Courtois believes Costa was injured and insists the Chelsea squad have no doubts over his loyalty.
“He has trained very well this week,” the goalkeeper said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves.”Obviously it was not a nice rumour that went around that he had a fight or anything. He had an injury and couldn’t train and obviously if you are not 100 per cent fit and you feel you cannot play it’s logic that you don’t train with the team.
“This week he could train again and he trained very well, so he might play on Sunday.
“He looks very committed, we cannot doubt that about Diego. You can see that in all games he plays.
“Nobody in this team doubted it, so when the day before the game against Leicester that came out it was a bit of a surprise to the players but it didn’t affect us in any way because we know what’s the truth. The rest is maybe just trying to destabilise Chelsea, but we don’t let it.”
And Courtois also explained why he hasn’t spoken to Costa about the situation.
“He was injured, so you don’t need to speak with someone,” he added.
“You just ask ‘are you OK?’ and ‘can you play on Saturday?’ He said ‘no, I feel pain’ and then you let it go because you know he won’t play.
“After the win we had two days off and he trained here and then he trained with us so I think everything is OK.”
Despite the absence of their leading scorer, Chelsea romped to a comfortable win over last season’s Premier League champions, to banish the memory of their 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.
That defeat had ended their 13-game winning run and Courtois said it was important to get back to winning ways immediately.
He said: “If the result hadn’t been good they could have doubted us, first after the loss against Tottenham and as well with that story. Then they can make stories that it had affected us.
“We were very happy with that win. We showed that the game against Tottenham was a tough game that you can lose. Think it was a good game from both sides that day and Tottenham was just a bit stronger than us.
“We showed against Leicester that we are still the team that won 13 times in a row. Hopefully we can continue on the same run.”
Chelsea were seven points clear of the chasing pack going into the weekend and face rivals Liverpool and Arsenal after Sunday’s clash with Hull.
But Courtois says it’s too early to start describing Chelsea as champions-elect.
When asked if the trophy was Chelsea’s to lose, he said: “If you’re on top they will say that, but there’s still 17 games to go and a lot of points to win and lose.
“Obviously this month is important for us. You have two big games coming up after Hull with Liverpool and Arsenal. If you can get a good result against both of those teams you make the gap maybe bigger.
“There is still a long way to go. Top games is one thing, but going away to Stoke or Burnley are difficult games where you can lose points.”