Conte hails Costa’s ‘discipline’ as Chelsea march on

“But I think we showed a good will to win from the start to the end. The players showed me a will to win, but they also showed they were prepared to fight to win this game.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes denied his players had targeted Costa in a bid to get him sent off.

“We didn’t do that,” he said. “It was more likely he targeted our players. We wanted a competitive game and I really enjoyed it. No quarter given or asked.”

But Hughes believes Costa’s reactions to challenges count against him.

“He’s an outstanding striker, but on occasions he got elements in his play he doesn’t need to have,” said the Welshman, once a bruising centre-forward himself.

“You can look after yourself, but you don’t need the rest of it and it takes away from his performance as a player. I just think it detracts from what a good player he is.”

Asked if Costa had gone down too easily, Hughes said: “On numerous occasions, and stayed down. You don’t need that.”

Hughes also thought match-winner Cahill was lucky to be on the pitch after pushing Walters for the penalty.

“I thought Cahill was a bit fortunate to stay on because he was the last man, so you could argue it was a red card,” he said.

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