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Diego Costa: I am not sure I deserve Chelsea fans’ unconditional love



• Chelsea forward speaks candidly on eve of Arsenal showdown
• ‘I, in particular, haven’t been on top form. We have to improve’

Diego Costa celebrates after scoring for Chelsea during their Champions League win against Maccabi. Photograph: Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Diego Costa has said he is not sure he “deserves” unconditional love from Chelsea supporters. The striker, who scored his second goal of the season against Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Wednesday, has also admitted that his form so far this campaign has not been good enough.

Chelsea take on Arsenal in the early Saturday kick-off with the Gunners six points and 13 places above their London rivals, but Costa is confident that home advantage can give his side a chance to close the gap.

“I don’t know if I deserve the fantastic support that they give me every game,” the Spain forward told Viasat Sport in Sweden on the eve of the Arsenal game. “I often don’t do anything and the fans still chant my name. They treat me very well and I’m very grateful for that. As I said, I don’t know how much I deserve it.

“It’s very important for the players to feel the warmth and support of the fans. That can often win you games. If you see the fans are there supporting you, it’s like having an extra player. It creates a special feeling inside when the fans are supporting you and making lots of noise. I hope the fans will be full of passion [against Arsenal] and transmit that energy to us that we need at the moment. We need their support and energy.”

Chelsea have won only one league game this season, a hard-fought win at the Hawthorns against West Brom, and lost three already. It is the club’s worst start to a season since 1998 and Costa is aware that they cannot affort to drop too many more points. “It’s clear for all to see that we haven’t started well, not just me, but the whole team,” he said. “Maybe we’ve been suffering from having too much confidence from what we achieved last season. The coach told us before the season started that, after winning the league, other teams would be hungrier than ever to take our title away from us. We’ve made mistakes as players. I, in particular, haven’t been on top form. We have to improve.”

The 26-year-old added that he has no problems with the referees in the Premier League despite a turbulent, yet successful, first season in the country. “They have a very tough job to do during matches which is to control many people with different characters: some are calm, others are clever, others get angry … I don’t have a problem with any referee.”