Alonso backs Costa to fire at Old Trafford
REUTERS - Chelsea striker Diego Costa offers more than just goals and will rise to the occasion in Sunday's trip to face Manchester United despite his recent lean spell in front of goal, wing back Marcos Alonso has said.
Costa's 17 league goals have helped Chelsea build a comfortable seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League table but the 28-year-old Spaniard has failed score in his last five games for the club.
"Is he a big game player? Yes. Manchester United is going to be a tough game for us but it doesn't matter who scores, hopefully we will get the three points," Alonso told British media.
"Diego has been massive for Chelsea this season. He has almost scored 20 goals and that is a significant contribution. But it's not just about that, with the way we play, he is very important."
Second-placed Tottenham Hotspur's run of six consecutive league victories has put Chelsea under increasing pressure to pick up points and Alonso admits Costa's sense of humour often helps defuse the tension in the dressing room.
"Diego is very good for the group... The pressure is there. It's good to play with this pressure because it means we are fighting for titles and trying to stay up there," Alonso added.
"It's good to have someone like Diego around who is funny and provides something to enjoy. Being in this position is something that should always be enjoyed."
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru)