When José Mourinho left Chelsea there was hope that the boiling tensions within the club would simmer down. Those hopes may have been premature.
The Mirror is reporting that Diego Costa and Oscar were involved in an altercation earlier today at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground.
The team was involved in an intense training session ahead of their FA Cup tie against Scunthorpe United this weekend. During the session, Oscar apparently went in hard on a “particularly hefty” tackle against Costa. It’s unclear how much physical damage the encounter dealt, but it’s obvious that the greater injury was the bruising of Costa’s ego.
Later in the session, Costa retaliated with a hard tackle of his own, giving more than he got in the initial exchange. Oscar and Costa then got in each other’s face and exchanged words. The two had to be separated by players and technical staff. Eventually they both calmed down enough to occupy the dressing room at the same time.
Costa, of course, has a reputation for getting physical with opponents and otherwise engaging in less than upstanding behavior on the pitch. Typically his worst impulses have been directed outward, something which Mourinho is said to have subtly encouraged and more than a few fans openly celebrated. But with the turmoil at Chelsea this season and his own dip in form, Costa has been lashing out more and more at those within his own camp.
In addition to touchline arguments with Mourinho before he left the club— and the incident with the training bib at Tottenham, which was not as big a deal as the rest of the media made it out to be— Costa is said to have gotten into another training ground altercation with John Terry. (The club has denied reports pertaining to that incident.)
The Spanish international isn’t the only belligerent involved in training ground fights at Cobham this season. Shortly before Mourinho was fired, Cesc Fàbregas and U21 player Charly Musonda got into it during training and sparked a squad-wide tussle.
On the one hand, training ground fights happen at every club, and unless they become a regular feature of training sessions or they result in actual injuries they’re usually best dealt with quickly. Yet this incident between Costa and Oscar is just the latest in a string of incidents at Cobham this season, and is part of a wider pattern of unrest at Chelsea. Further, today’s scuffle undermines the message coming out of the club that tensions are easing among the squad and the general state of affairs is improving after Mourinho’s departure. It’s really hard to argue that things are getting better at Chelsea when things like this are still happening.