The last time Diego Costa walked off the pitch at Stamford Bridge, our centre-forward had just scored his 50th Premier League goal and followed it before the end of that game against Southampton with his 51st.
In doing so he became the second-fastest to reach that post-1992 milestone for Chelsea so ahead of his return to our home turf tonight against Middlesbrough, the official Chelsea website marks Diego Costa’s scoring feat by talking to him about goals, goals, goals…
Diego, are you the type of striker who remembers clearly every goal you score? Can you picture most of the 50 well?
‘You normally remember key goals, goals that have been decisive in games, goals to draw a game or win a game. Goals in games that have been important or difficult, they’re the ones you remember.’
Speaking of key goals, statistics have shown your goals are earning more points for your team than goals scored by any other Premier League player this season.
‘Goals are always more vital and important when they go to earn points for your team for sure. They have more impact and I have always said rather than scoring five in two games, or three or four in one game and then going five games without a goal, it is more important to have a sequence of goals scored regularly without a dry spell.’
We did have to wait six league games for you to go from 49 to 50 goals, although for a second or two many thought you had scored it at Bournemouth. Did you know straightaway that was going to be given as an own-goal?
‘Yes, I knew from that moment. I did not hit it cleanly and it would have been a bad goal to get my 50th with. I knew it was going wide, I knew it had clipped the defender and I knew it wasn’t going to be my goal. It was nice then to get the 50th at home.’
Do you know Bournemouth is the only current Premier League team you have yet to score against?
‘No! Next one I will score.’
Do you go onto the pitch every game thinking I am going to score today?
‘It is funny, you do have days when you just feel it in your bones that you are going to score a goal and that generally happens when you are on a good scoring run at that particular time. You feel firstly you are going to get a chance and secondly that you will convert that chance.
‘However it is not say you are not always concentrated, but when you are on a thinner run or a bad run of goals, or a few games without scoring a goal, you kind of almost up your concentration levels to try to make sure if you do get that chance, you do convert it.’
A good proportion of the 50 goals, 13 of them, were scored with your left foot. Not every striker is good with either foot. Is there a reason you are?
‘I would not say I am one of the best there is with my left but I have worked on it. I can point to an injury I had in my right knee which meant that when I was suffering with that, I had to work harder on my left foot and hit shots with it. That was when I was at Atletico. So I can hit the ball okay with the left but not as good as some players who are good with both feet.’
Five of the goals, including no.50, were headers. Is it harder to score with your head in the Premier League than in the countries where you played previously?
‘It is. The guys at the back are bigger and stronger and really good in the air. It is part of my game I have worked on and I am alright in the air, but it is not my strongest point.’
What you have been strong on this season is scoring goals late on in games. You have done that eight times in the last 15 minutes of matches in all competitions. Is that a sign of good fitness?
‘Games can be won or lost in the final stages because everyone starts off the game focused and is mentally tough, physically fit and keeps up with the play. Depending on how the game goes, if it is a tough game, lots of end-to-end stuff, things start to open up a bit from the 70th or 80th minute. If you keep fit and are really strong, that is when you can capitalise on any tiredness or lack of concentration that can start to appear in your opposing defence. That is why it is important if you have been working hard and battling for the ball all game, you have to be super-fit to come on strong in those final minutes when the defenders may be lagging.’
You are one away from 20 goals in the league this season, the total you reached in 2014/15. People often talk about the importance of a 20-goals-a-season striker. Does the number have significance for you?
‘Twenty is a good, solid total. Any club with a striker who is going to get 20 goals regularly, they are going to be up there competing for whatever competition they are involved in. I am not one who is going to be looking at the goalscoring chart and I am not one who is looking for individual glory, it is always about scoring goals to pick up points. That is why I am looking for that consistency, that regularity of scoring, one goal every game or every other game rather than getting three or four and then having a drought.
‘But with 20 I am happy. I did it in the first season at Chelsea, when we were champions, and if I get 19 or 20 this season and we turn out to be champions then great, it means something and it is for something.’
- Diego Costa has selected some of his most memorable goals from his 51 in the Premier League so far. You can choose which is your favourite by clicking on just one of the goals listed below.