Spanish national team coach Vicente Del Bosque has defended Chelsea striker Diego Costa from criticism over his absence.
The Brazilian-born striker has not travelled to Madrid with the squad and is to miss Spain’s upcoming international fixtures with a groin injury.
The news of the Blues’ top scorer’s absence, however, has come in for criticism from certain sectors of Spain due to his recent involvement at club level.
The 26-year-old striker started for the Blues in their recent 2-1 victory over Liverpool, despite Jose Mourinho’s insistence that he is carrying an injury.
The Portuguese coach has a fragile relationship with the Spanish FA and many observers feel that Costa’s absence shows a lack of commitment and an overriding influence on Mourinho’s part.
Del Bosque, however, has refused to lay the blame on his striker and told Spanish reporters yesterday that the Chelsea man’s commitment to the national team is unquestionable.
“Diego Costa’s case is different. Groin injuries can be very incapacitating for some players. [Costa] has lowered the pace of his own training programme with his club and we decided not to call him up this time and for that reason, there was no need to bring him over to Madrid,” he said, quoted by newspaper AS.
“If we start doubting players’ commitment, we’ll be heading down the wrong road. Diego was born in Brazil but elected to play for Spain and gained Spanish citizenship to be able to do so – he has even played while injured for us”
Despite a disappointing start to life with La Roja, Costa netted his first international goal in his last outing as Spain crushed Luxembourg 4-0.
His form at Stamford Bridge so far this season has been excellent and Del Bosque feels it’s only a matter of time before that transpires on to the international stage.