Conte: Diego Costa is a passionate man

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has leapt to the defence of Diego Costa after the controversial striker escaped a sending off for his foul on West Ham goalkeeper Adrian on Monday night.

The Spain international was lucky to remain on the pitch after catching the keeper with his studs showing, and went on to score the winning goal one minute from time.

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic criticised Costa in his post-match interview, intimating the striker should have seen red for his late challenge on Adrian.

But Conte has moved to play down the seriousness of the challenge, claiming the referee was correct in his decision to allow the challenge to go unpunished.

"Diego tried to put pressure on Adrian and before the contact, he stopped," Conte was quoted as saying by AFP.

"For this reason, I think the referee took the right decision. You know Diego is a passionate man and he puts passion in everything he does.

"In this situation, I think the referee took the right decision."

Costa was already on a yellow card when he caught Adrian, having been booked for dissent in the first half.

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