Diego Costa sorry for dumping Chelsea out of the Champions League last season

£32m striker says he owes Blues fans an apology after semi-final penalty

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The Independent Football

Diego Costa is planning on apologising to Chelsea fans when he plays in his first game at Stamford Bridge.

The £32m striker will be unveiled in a pre-season friendly against Real Sociedad, Chelsea's last match before they begin their Premier League season at Burnley on Monday night.

The last time he played in west London the 25-year-old was booed after scoring a vital penalty to put Atletico Madrid in front in the Champions League semi-finals.

Atletico went on to win 3-1 and knock Chelsea out of the competition. But it was that ability under pressure, as well as his phenomenal goalscoring record, that persuaded Mourinho to make his move.

"Now I can say I’m really sorry for the part I played in the game we won at Stamford Bridge," Costa told the Evening Standard.

"I remember the atmosphere and the passion of the supporters. They stayed right until the end, getting behind their team, even though it was unlikely they could win after we scored two quick goals. I liked that.

“I hope my actions on the pitch and my feet will do the talking and then people can decide if I’m a good player or not, if I’m improving or not. All I can say is I love playing hard and fairly.

“I love playing at a high intensity and, hopefully, that can rub off on some of our players. I just want to become better and, hopefully, I can do that here.

“Joining was an easy decision for me. We have some of the best players in the world, the best manager in the world and it’s a club with great history.

“I want to improve, not only as a player but as an individual, and I believe this is the perfect place for me to do that. That’s the reason I chose Chelsea and why I want to defend this shirt.”

Costa celebrates at Stamford Bridge last season

Chelsea will certainly hope that having the Spanish international playing for, rather than against, them will ensure they don’t miss out on silverware for a second season in a row.

The lack of a top-class centre-forward also cost them in the Premier League as they finished just four points behind champions Manchester City.

But having already started playing games alongside talented team-mates such as Eden Hazard and fellow summer signing Cesc Fabregas, Costa is convinced Chelsea can aim for the Quadruple in this campaign.

He added: “We have an outstanding squad and, if we can all stick together, pull in the same direction and remain focused, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be going to the final stages and fighting for every trophy available.”  

Costa has already made a good impression in the friendlies he’s played so far, including two fine goals against Olimpija Ljubljana and Fenerbahce.

Some behaviour on the pitch during his time in Spain earned him a reputation for having a suspect temperament and opposition defenders have appeared to deliberately target the forward during pre-season in order to provoke a reaction. He admits he is not a good loser but is ready to cope with the challenge of English football.

He added: “It’s the way I am. I hate losing. I don’t want to lose and I do everything I can to make sure my team doesn’t lose. They say the English game is more physical than in Spain, so hopefully I’ll do well.”

Costa is also delighted to be getting the chance to play alongside one of his heroes in Didier Drogba this season.

Costa has impressed for the Blues in pre-season

Drogba, who won’t feature tonight due to an ankle injury, rejoined the club last month after a two-year break, having scored 157 goals for them between 2004-12. Costa feels the 36-year-old can make him one of the most feared strikers in the game and said: “My first Chelsea memories are from the first time Drogba was playing here.

“I’m a centre-forward and I want to learn from the best; I’d see Drogba play and think he was incredible. He remains one of the best in the world.”

Mourinho has called for fans to arrive by 7pm tonight because the whole first- team squad, including a slightly bashful Costa, will be introduced to the crowd one by one. The striker will certainly hope to hear more of a cheer in west London on this occasion.