Sunderland vs Chelsea: Wes Brown rejects the blame game over Diego Costa clash

Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea

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The Independent Online

Wes Brown has exonerated Diego Costa from blame after the Chelsea striker floored him with a stray right arm during the goalless draw at Sunderland on Saturday.

Costa was at the centre of controversy, with the Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet, claiming that his combative central midfielder Lee Cattermole would have been sent off if he had been involved in either the incident that led to Costa being booked or his clash with John O’Shea.

That had happened towards the end of the first half when O’Shea fouled the Chelsea forward, who tried to rake his studs into the Sunderland captain. Referee Kevin Friend spoke to both men but there was no punishment.

However, when Costa’s flailing right arm struck Brown’s face in the second half, Friend, who was surrounded by angry Sunderland players, produced yellow. That means Costa will miss Wednesday’s game with Tottenham Hotspur.

Brown needed treatment to continue, but he said: “It doesn’t bother me one bit. If I’m honest, I don’t know what hit me, I just know I was caught by something. One of the lads has said it didn’t look on purpose, it was more of his follow-through. That’s football. I’m a defender and I’m pretty much used to that.”

 

Chelsea’s manager, Jose Mourinho, refused to criticise either of Costa’s actions. He also claimed the rest may benefit his main striker.

“It’s never a blessing, we want the best players to play, but to have one game to rest for them individually it gives them a new energy,” he said. “After that he is fresh to play against Newcastle the next weekend. This is football and in this busy period where you play so many matches players do get a fifth yellow card.”

Sunderland defended heroically for their point, as the Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic acknowledged. “Of course, now every team is going to defend,” he said. “And we know that and we are ready. We will find a space to score. They played well I think. We didn’t play bad. We controlled the game. I don’t know much possession, but I feel comfortable on the pitch .

“The manager said before the game that it was going to be a hard game, for sure. And it was a hard game. I think we just have to think about the next game, which is near.

Jose-Mourinho-3.jpg
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

“Of course we need everybody, but we have good strikers. We have Didier [Drogba], we have [Loïc] Rémy [to come in for Costa] so I’m not scared.”

Brown gave credit to Cattermole, who put up perhaps his best display in a Sunderland shirt. “His performance was brilliant,” Brown said. “His defending is up there with any midfielder I’ve seen. In every single game, you can never say he doesn’t try to give everything.

“He runs all day and shows 100 per cent commitment in every game. I’d be the first to rely on him because I know he’s going to do it every game. He’s shown that again, and tracked everyone back from first minute to last. I thought he wanted it more than a few of their players as well. That’s why he’s so valuable to us.”

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