Diego Costa stamps were accidental, says Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Chelsea manager railed against unnamed Sky Sports pundit, believed to be Jamie Redknapp

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho defended Diego Costa after the striker twice appeared to stamp on opponents during Chelsea's victory over Liverpool which earned a place in the Capital One Cup final.

A Branislav Ivanovic header in the fourth minute of extra-time edged a frenetic, ill-tempered clash with Liverpool 1-0 as the Blues advanced to the March 1 final 2-1 on aggregate.

Costa was involved in three of the game's main talking points - stamps on Emre Can and Martin Skrtel - and a Chelsea penalty appeal when tripped by Skrtel.

Mourinho railed against Costa's critics, one unnamed television pundit in particular, who is understood to be former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp.

"I don't know what you understand by stamp," Mourinho said. "I think maybe you are already influenced by... I'm going to use a word which put me in trouble but I think this time I cannot be punished to say that there is a campaign on the television with a certain pundit that is saying Diego Costa 'crimes'. This guy must be nuts.

"I saw the incidents. About the penalty, I don't speak. I prefer not to speak. If I comment I will be in trouble and I don't want to be.

"What you call stamps and Sky calls crimes, I have to say absolutely accidental. He goes to the ball, he chases the ball, as the opponent is on the floor, they have a contact, he puts his foot there when he's looking to the ball.

"Great campaign. We know how much that pundit loves Chelsea and particularly loves me.

"When you are there and you are paid and you are very well paid - much more than some managers that have to put their ass, every 90 minutes, every weekend on the bench.

"These guys, they have a very good seat, very good money, no pressure. They are always right. They never lose, they always win, but they have to be fair and they have to be honest."

Mourinho declined to name names, adding: "Forget it. Let's go to Wembley. Come on. I don't know his name, because when I see him I switch off the television."

Costa could face retrospective punishment from the Football Association for the stamps, particularly the one on Can which came in front of the dugouts.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said: "He's an outstanding player, an outstanding footballer.

"He has this edge to him. With Emre Can, that was poor, I felt. He could easily hurdle over the young player and he directs his studs right on to his ankle, which could've been nasty.

"And again the one with Martin Skrtel. There's no need to do it. That's the sad thing of it. He's a top-class player and he's clever enough that the officials don't see it.

"It was poor from him. He doesn't need to do it. It wasn't good for the game. The referee didn't see it. When you see it afterwards, it's disappointing."

PA

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