Mar 18, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​bet365 Stadium
Attendance: 27,724
StokeStoke City
1-2
Chelsea
Walters (38' pen.)
Allen (15'), Bardsley (40'), Martins Indi (65'), Pieters (65'), Cameron (91')
Bardsley (95')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Willian (14'), Cahill (87')
Costa (17'), Fabregas (94')

Mark Hughes: 'Stoke City did not target Diego Costa'

Hughes: 'We did not target Diego Costa'
© SilverHub
Stoke manager Mark Hughes claims that Chelsea striker Diego Costa tried to antagonise his defenders rather than the other way round during their 2-1 defeat to the Blues.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has denied that his players deliberately tried to antagonise Diego Costa during today's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the bet365 Stadium.

A number of Stoke's defenders - most notably Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi - had run-ins with the Spain international, whose temperament has been called into question during his Chelsea career.

Costa picked up an early yellow card for dissent but was otherwise able to keep a lid on his emotions, although Hughes argued that it was the striker who targeted the defenders rather than the other way around.

"We didn't target him, more likely he targeted our players. I played in that position many years and I look at his qualities as a striker, he's an outstanding striker, but on occasions he's got elements of his play that he doesn't really need to have," he told reporters.

"You can still have an edge, an element where you can look after yourself, but you don't have to have the rest.

"I think it takes away from his performance and his image as a player, it's not necessary. Maybe that's how he generates his feeling in the game and when he's able to produce his best work. I think it detracts from what a good player he is."

Stoke's defeat leaves them still ninth in the Premier League table, but now seven points adrift of the top eight.

Diego Costa celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Stoke City on December 31, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1211104073334
2Chelsea1281323101325
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd127232361723
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs127232091123
5Liverpool126422417722
6Arsenal127142216622
7Burnley12642129322
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle125251110117
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton114341111015
10Watford114341721-415
11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12435817-915
12Leicester CityLeicester123451618-213
13Bournemouth124171114-313
14Southampton12345914-513
15Stoke CityStoke113351322-912
16Everton123361224-1212
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom12246918-910
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham112361123-129
19Swansea CitySwansea12228715-88
20Crystal Palace12129624-185
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