Spain drop Diego Costa with harsh words from Vicente del Bosque over Koscielny incident

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, believes his players are strong enough to handle his public and private criticism of them

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Vicente del Bosque issued a public rebuke of Diego Costa’s conduct as he left the Chelsea striker out of his Spain squad for their last two European Championship qualifiers.

Costa has a one-match international suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards and was not eligible for the game against Luxembourg on Friday. Del Bosque then said he had “preferred not to include him” for the match in Ukraine three days later. 

The striker is also serving a three-match ban in England for violent conduct after putting his hands in the face of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny. Del Bosque added: “I did not like what I saw. I did not like what he [Costa] did, of course not.”

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, believes his players are strong enough to handle his public and private criticism of them. In a fierce defence of his methods yesterday, Mourinho said his players were neither prima donnas nor ostriches, and that they accept his frank speaking.

“In here we speak openly,” he said. “‘You did that, you could do that, you could help your mate, I did that mistake but you could do a bit better to compensate for my mistake.’ We communicate openly. No prima donnas crying. Everyone accepts the criticisms, knows the job and knows what let the team down.

“When I criticise the mistake of my right-back and [young defender] Ola Aina is present, it’s an education for him. When I criticise a mistake of Gary Cahill, and John Terry is in the meeting, he knows what I want.”

Chelsea have just eight points from their first seven Premier League games, a run Mourinho called “the worst period of my career”, but “a great negative experience”. 

He told his players they cannot hide from their predicament today when they take on Southampton at Stamford Bridge. “An ostrich puts its head in the ground,” Mourinho said. “At the bad moments, you cannot do that.”