Hiddink leaps to Costa's defence after latest controversy

Costa was under the spotlight at Watford
Costa was under the spotlight at Watford

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink hit out at Watford defender Juan Carlos Paredes for trying to get Diego Costa sent off in Wednesday night's goalless draw at Watford.

Watford right-back Paredes and Costa were involved in a petty exchange which saw both players booked by referee Mike Dean for their amateur dramatics.

Hiddink felt Paredes was trying to antagonise his short-tempered striker.

The Blues boss said: "It was very clear, because we were very close. It was just 10 yards from our bench.

"Paredes punched Diego in his back. After that they stumbled. Then Paredes brought his hands to his head and Diego was nowhere near his head.

"This is something we must not do. It's provocation to get someone (sent) off the pitch. Happily the referee and the assistant referee saw it."

Watford captain Troy Deeney took a dim view of the incident, too.

"It's new-age football," he said on BT Sport 1. "There's a little touch and everyone's rolling around. It's just handbags. In Sunday League that wouldn't happen because you'd be laughed at.

"I don't like to see it, and we'll have a word with Paredes on our side."

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, who managed Costa at Atletico Madrid, spoke to the striker at the end of the game.

Asked what he had said, the Hornets boss said: "That I love him."

On the incident, he added: "Contact in the Premier League is very normal. This kind of player always is looking to find contact in every single challenge.

"Paredes resisted very well. He tried to play, he tried to defend very well.

"It's nothing new. I understand Costa because I coached Costa and every single play he wants to challenge them.

"Paredes was very hard, very strong also, but nothing happened. Nothing strange."

Hiddink praised Costa for keeping his cool.

"There was no need to calm him down," Hiddink said.

"At half-time he was very controlled. He said I'll go and focus on what I have to do."

Costa came close to winning the contest for Chelsea, but saw his 88th-minute header saved by Heurelho Gomes.