Crystal Palace 0, Chelsea 3: Rejuvenated Costa benefiting from anger management, says Hiddink

Ross McLean
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Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink believes antagonistic striker Diego Costa is reaping the rewards from eradicating “silly things” from his game after proving an influential figure in his side’s thumping of Crystal Palace yesterday.

Goals from Oscar, Willian and Costa saw Chelsea defy their faltering away form and halt a harrowing run of seven Premier League matches on the road, dating back to 23 August, without a win.

Victory propelled the Blues to 14th, six points clear of the relegation zone, while Palace, who have lost five of their last six London derbies, remain seventh, five points adrift of a Champions League place.

“I don’t give any guarantee that it [flashpoints] won’t happen in the future because everyone has his temperament and sometimes you lose your temper,” said Hiddink.

“[It’s important] to try to focus on why you’re here and what is your quality and exclude many influences and try to get him focused on what he is good at, and not wasting energy on – the Spanish have a nice word ‘tonterias’ – on silly things.”

Chelsea had barely threatened by the time Cesc Fabregas’ 29th minute through ball released Costa, who skipped beyond Damien Delaney, homed in on goal before unselfishly squaring for Oscar to tap home.

Willian lashed a ferocious 25-yard shot into the top corner on the hour-mark before his cross six minutes later was palmed into the path of Costa by Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey, and the Spaniard made no mistake from close range.