Mark Hughes accused Diego Costa of employing “dark arts” that detracted from his ability as a centre-forward.
The Stoke manager laughed off suggestions that his team had deliberately targeted the Chelsea centre-forward during their 2-1 win in the Potteries, a game in which Costa spent much of the first half arguing with officials, tangling with Stoke defenders and running the risk of being shown a second yellow card.
“We didn’t target Costa, he targeted our players if anything,” said Hughes. “I played in that position for many years and you have to react better than that. He is an outstanding striker, you can still have that edge, you can still look after yourself but that kind of behaviour, going over too easily and staying down when he wasn’t hurt, doesn’t help.
“He draws fouls and tries to make the most of contact when they are not fouls. He is adept at the dark arts and everyone in football recognises that.”