English Premier League 2015-16

Diego Costa cools his heels as Chelsea drop points against Spurs

Tottenham hold Blues to goalless draw as Mourinho opts to rest his 'out-of-form' striker amid signs of discontent in the camp

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 November, 2015, 11:21pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 November, 2015, 11:21pm

Jose Mourinho's relationship with Diego Costa came under renewed scrutiny after the Chelsea manager dropped the striker for Sunday's 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.

The point left the reigning champions languishing in the bottom half of the table, while Tottenham - now unbeaten in 13 league games - were left frustrated after failing to take a chance to put pressure on the top four.

He's playing every match and things are not going really well for his confidence
Jose Mourinho

But it was Mourinho's decision to leave Costa on the bench, having clashed with the Spain international at half-time of the mid-week Champions League win away to Maccabi Tel Aviv, that drew most attention.

It clearly angered the striker, who did not take part in the pre-match warm-up and tossed his bib towards Mourinho as the game neared its conclusion.

Mourinho explained his decision to drop Costa by claiming the 27-year-old was lacking in confidence, having found the net only four times this season.

"He's playing every match and things are not going really well for his confidence," Mourinho told BT Sport prior to the kick-off at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea captain John Terry was also absent after failing to recover from the ankle injury he picked up during the 4-0 victory in Israel.

That meant Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill were paired at the heart of the visitors' defence, while Eden Hazard was pushed forward to fill the hole left by the brooding Costa.

Tottenham also came into the game on the back of a long trip, in the case of Mauricio Pochettino's team travelling to Azerbaijan to face Qarabag in the Europa League.

The Spurs manager had complained about the possible effects on his players of making such a demanding journey just 72 hours beforehand, but still opted to retain eight of his mid-week starting XI in his line-up.

A high-tempo game lacked quality and Tottenham's efforts in front of goal mirrored those of their opponents, although it took an excellent save by Asmir Begovic to repel Son Heung-min's header from Harry Kane's cross.

The second period followed a similar pattern, with both teams struggling to impose themselves in a game that grew scrappy.

Hazard finally conjured Chelsea's first effort on target when he met Branislav Ivanovic's deep cross with a powerful left-foot volley that Hugo Lloris did well to tip away for a corner.