Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes that Chelsea forward Diego Costa has failed to shine in the Champions League, and believes it is because he hasn't got the kind of space in and behind defences that he has encountered when playing in domestic competition.
The former Chelsea striker, and the current Burton Albion manager, told TalkSport: “Diego Costa needs space behind the defence, that’s where he’s at his best. The Champions League is another level to the Premier League though.
“Last year he had that space when playing for Atletico Madrid, but this campaign he hasn’t looked as good in Europe as when he’s playing in the Premier League.”
Costa hit the ground running in front of goal in the Premier League but he had a problem with his hamstring which led to Jose Mourinho taking precautions with the Spain international, which included not playing in some Champions League group games, or limiting the game time.
The 26-year-old has scored 17 goals in 21 league games so far this term, so his record on the domestic front is extraordinary.
Last season for Atletico Madrid, he managed to find the net eight times from nine games as he helped the side reach the Champions League final in Lisbon, aside from their success in La Liga.
The Premier League and Champions League can be very different competitions to play in but it's hard not to think that a couple of limited opportunities during the group stages may have contributed to Costa not finding his feet in Europe this season.
Hasselbaink appears to be looking at it from a more tactical point of view, but Atleti were very well respected by sides last season and often faced similar sorts of challenges in their campaign. For one reason or another, it hasn't happened for Costa in Europe in what has otherwise been a fantastic first season at Stamford Bridge.