Lopetegui delighted with Costa behaviour

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui says Diego Costa is a changed man from his previous time with the national team as they prepare to face Israel in a World Cup qualifier on Friday.

The Chelsea forward is in sparkling form this season and his 17 Premier League goals have helped the Blues to a commanding position at the top of the standings.

The 28-year-old, who didn't score in a poor 2014 World Cup campaign for Spain before being dropped from their European Championship squad in 2016 following a disappointing season as Chelsea finished 10th, has now netted three times for his adopted country.

And speaking ahead of their crunch clash, with Israel currently third in Group G on nine points, behind Italy (10) and Spain (10), Lopetegui said he is delighted with Costa's improvement and is looking forward to their match.

Lopetegui told Radio Marca: "He's calm and happy. He has had a lot of consistency and form at Chelsea and we are all delighted.

"The players who are with us have shown incredible behaviour. The players are the medicine for the Spain team and they will help us achieve our goals."

He added: "The main focus is to get points against Israel. We need to convey the importance of this game.

"They have good players and they are a competitive team. We know how difficult they are, we have to perform well.

"We absolutely respect Israel and I'm sure that they are also going to be respected by the city of Gijon."

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