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Conte laughs off Costa’s claims Chelsea treated him like a “criminal”

Date Posted,August 17, 2017

Antonio Conte laughed off Diego Costa’s claims that Chelsea have treated him like a “criminal.”

Conte could not contain his amusement, laughed for nearly a minute in front of the TV cameras and also insisted Costa is now “in the past” for Chelsea after his public outbursts.

Chelsea outcast Costa angrily claimed he is being forced out and his latest outburst also saw him accuse the club of pricing him out of a move back to his former club Atletico Madrid.

When asked about the “criminal” remarks, Conte said: “It’s great. I prefer to laugh.

Costa looks to have kicked his last ball for Chelsea (Image: REUTERS)

“I can tell you that everyone was in Chelsea knows very well what happened last season with Diego. It’s funny this interview.

“No. I’m not interested to continue this issue. I repeat: for me, it is in the past.”

Chelsea have ordered Costa to return to the club after the Spain international claimed he would never go back because of the way he has been treated.

But Costa’s hopes of a return to Atletico appear to be fading after he told ESPN that Chelsea want more than the £33m they paid for him in 2014.

Conte and Costa’s relationship broke down (Image: Getty)

Costa said: “My agent said that Chelsea want something that Atletico can’t get near. When we heard that [Antonio] Conte didn’t want me anymore, my agent went to find out if there was interest from Atletico for me coming back.

“Of course for the warmth and respect that I earned there, they showed interest. But they wouldn’t pay a fortune. Atletico is a team growing every year, a big team, but they can’t pay an extraordinary amount.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Conte has mixed team news for their clash with Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday.

Eden Hazard has returned to training but will not be ready, new £40m signing Tiémoué Bakayoko could be rushed back and Pedro remains a doubt with an ankle injury.

Costa has not represented Chelsea since the FA Cup final last season (Image: PA Wire)
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Conte said: “I can tell you about Hazard. Hazard is improving, but to be fully fit, I think he needs time. We must have patience with him and try to do the best for him.

“About Bakayoko. Bakayoko is improving very well. He’s not at the top of physical condition, but he could be in contention for the game because at this moment I don’t have other midfielders available.

“About Pedro, Pedro today has trained with us but he felt pain in his ankle. I don’t know about Pedro. His situation is very difficult. I don’t know if he’s available for the bench or not.

Conte said the Brazilian’s interview is “funny” (Image: Action Images via Reuters)

“In this moment some players have not 100 per cent of their physical condition. Also Morata is another player who needs to continue to work and to improve.

“We have to face a difficult situation. For this reason I have to make a difficult decision. Bakayoko could be in contention for the game against Tottenham, why not?”

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