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Struggling striker Diego Costa vows to step up Chelsea form

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Diego Costa is determined to move on from his bib-throwing display of petulance and contribute to a Chelsea revival.

The 27-year-old returned to the starting line-up after a two-game absence as Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 to advance to the Champions League knock-out stages on Wednesday night as Group G winners.

The Blues want to translate the vastly improved showing into the Premier League and Costa is keen to play his part after being dropped by Jose Mourinho, with Eden Hazard deployed as a "false nine" against Tottenham and Bournemouth.

When it became apparent Costa would not be used in the goalless draw at White Hart Lane he appeared to fling his pink substitutes' bib in the direction of Mourinho, narrowly missing.

"The thing with the bib is done, it's over," Costa said.

"I was wrong, but the relationship with Mourinho is great, we get along very well.

"There are things that I have to control, but it was an impulse."

A laughing Costa then either denied throwing the bib at his manager, whose job is precarious given Chelsea's lowly Premier League position, or suggested his lack of accuracy on the pitch was reflected in his throw.

He added: "In no way was it to hit him. If I threw the bib at him it wouldn't have missed because he was very close."

Costa has scored just seven times for Chelsea since January and four times this season.

He has one Champions League goal for the Blues since his summer 2014 arrival.

Mourinho said Costa returned for pre-season training overweight this year and suggested every game without a goal was adding a further burden of 5kg to his misfiring striker.

Unsubstantiated reports suggested the pair's relationship was strained, while Costa was one of three players pictured on a night out prior to the loss to Bournemouth, which was actually the full squad's Christmas celebration and approved by the manager.

Mourinho also said the Brazil-born Spain striker's lack of confidence was clear against Porto, where Costa forced a lucky break in an opening goal after which the visitors could not respond.

"I have to improve," said Costa, whose most recent goal was on November 21 in the win over Norwich.

"The start of the season hasn't been good for me, neither in play or in goals."

Costa was prolific in his first months at Chelsea following his ?32million move from Atletico Madrid.

But his form has led to suggestions Chelsea are in the market for a new striker, while he has often been linked with a return to Spain.

"One never knows if I will return to Atletico," Costa added. "Life is full of twists and turns. Look at where Filipe Luis is (back with Atletico after a year at Chelsea).

"The truth is that I wish the best for Atletico, I'll always continue supporting them from afar."

Chelsea next play at Leicester on Monday, by which time they could be in the Premier League's relegation zone.

The Blues are already in Monday's Champions League draw, with Mourinho believing all their possible opponents - Paris St Germain, PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Juventus, Roma or Gent - want to play them.

The Blues were underdogs in 2012 when they won their only European Cup and there is belief they can defy that status again.

Midfielder Nemanja Matic said on uefa.com: "Chelsea won it before and we will try to do it again. There is still a long way to go but we will give it our best.

"The atmosphere is very positive in the squad."

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Topics:
Chelsea
Premier League
Football

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