LONDON — Describing himself as "no angel," striker Diego Costa has insisted he won't alter his aggressive and confrontational playing style in the wake of his three-match ban for stamping on an opponent's leg.
The Spain international missed 1-1 Premier League draw with title rival Manchester City on Saturday after failing to overturn a charge of violent conduct for treading on the ankle of Liverpool's Emre Can during the League Cup semifinal on Tuesday.
"I've never injured another colleague, another player on purpose," the former Atletico Madrid striker is quoted by the Sunday Telegraph as saying. "Yes, I've had loads of incidents, maybe even more in Spain. But that's the way I play.
"I'm not going to change the way I play because I got banned for a few games now."
Costa is the Premier League's top scorer this season with 17 goals, but has picked up eight yellow cards for already.
"I have a go at defenders and they have a go at me. We argue," Costa said. "Whatever happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. After the game, I shake hands with the defender. Job done — I go home, he goes home. We're all mates. It's all good. That's how I see football."
"I always go on the limit," he added, "but I think the people that think that I am violent player, it's because they interpret football a different way. They see it in a different way. Back in the old days, there used to be way more contact and a lot of things that were permitted."
Costa will also miss league games against Aston Villa and Everton. leads the Premier League by five points with 15 games left.