Mourinho, Costa settle row with 'kisses and cuddles'

HAIFA (Israel) • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said he and striker Diego Costa have patched up with "kisses and cuddles" after their half-time dispute in Tuesday's 4-0 Champions League win over Israeli opponents Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The pair appeared to be engaged in an angry exchange of views as they headed towards the players' tunnel at half-time.

Mourinho took issue with Costa's lack of movement in the first half.

However, the Spain international went on to finish the match after the 52-year-old Portuguese displayed a more tender side in the dressing room.

Costa was involved in the major flashpoint of the first half, after he was chopped down by a terrible challenge from Maccabi's Tal Ben Haim. It led to the former Chelsea defender being red-carded.

Said Mourinho: "With Diego, I wanted him to do a certain movement that he didn't and I was disappointed and reacted and he reacted too but, at half-time in the dressing room, there were a few kisses and cuddles."

Gary Cahill gave the English champions a first-half lead with a poked finish inside the box.

Brazilians Willian, with a stunning free kick, and Oscar added second-half strikes in the final 17 minutes. Defender Kurt Zouma contributed a fourth in injury time.

The win relieves some of the pressure on the Blues after a string of poor league results see them languishing in 16th spot in the English Premier League table.

But Mourinho, who has already won the Champions League with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010, remains buoyant.

He said: "My future, I think there are no rumours. I want to stay in the club, the club wants me to stay.

"For us, there are no rumours."

He also dismissed speculation linking Maccabi's Israeli international forward Eran Zahavi with the West London outfit.

"Not Chelsea but surely he can play in England," noted Mourinho.

"He is very intelligent in his movements. He knows how to make a run. The control inside, to have a situation to shoot."

Chelsea are level on 10 points with Mourinho's former side Porto at the top of Group G.

The two meet in their final group game at Stamford Bridge on Dec 9, when a point for the Londoners will be enough to make the last 16.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'Mourinho, Costa settle row with 'kisses and cuddles''. Print Edition | Subscribe