Diego Costa: I wanted to join Chelsea because of Jose Mourinho – I will always be grateful to him

Richard Parry
Reunited | Costa will come up against Mourinho when Chelsea travel to Old Trafford: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Diego Costa has credited Jose Mourinho for making him a better player ahead of Sunday’s clash between Chelsea and Manchester United.

The Blues go toe-to-toe with their former manager for the third time since his sacking last December, thumping them 4-0 in the league before a tight 1-0 victory in the FA Cup.

Costa won the league under Mourinho during his first campaign at the club, scoring 20 goals in 26 Premier League appearances. But things turned sour the following campaign.

The striker, along with team-mates Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, were accused of downing tools by sections of the press and Chelsea support as they slumped to nine defeats in the first 16 games of the 2015-16 campaign, a claim denied by the players.

But Costa insists he will always be grateful to Mourinho, who he still regards as ‘one of the best’ coaches around.

"In all honesty I always tell people that I am grateful to Mourinho because he helped me a lot,” he told Sky Sports.

"As a player when you want to improve you always look for the best coach and Mourinho is one of the best.

"I wanted to come to Chelsea because of Mourinho. When I considered Chelsea I thought about the fact that Mourinho was here.

"He is a coach that demands a lot from his players, he wants the maximum.

"He helped me a lot and then what happened is that the following season didn't go well, these things that happen, but the truth is that Mourinho helped me a lot to improve as a player."