Diego Costa is delighted with the 4-0 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League opener but warns Chelsea teammates that the London derby against Arsenal on 19 September will be a completely different game. The Spain international admitted to IBTimes UK that the players are the only one to blame for their poor start to the campaign as he believes there has been too much self-confidence following last season's success.
The Blues put their poor start to the Premier League campaign behind them with a comfortable home win against Maccabi Tel Aviv thanks to goals of Willian, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas and Costa. Having failed to score a goal in the Champions League last season, the Spaniard was happy to finally find the net for the Blues in a European game and especially pleased to help his side win before their vital derby against Arsenal.
"It is very important for a striker to score but was even more important to win the game. It was a tricky game because we knew we have more quality but [it] came from a poor dynamic and any rival in the Champions League is difficult," Costa said to IBTimes UK.
"And we have to win every game. No matter the opponent. But clearly the game against Arsenal will be a different one. They are one of our main Premier League rivals [for the title]. It is going to be a very important game. After the beginning of the season we had, we have to win. But they have great players so we know that to beat them, we have to do a very complete game."
Chelsea playing catch up in the league
The Premier League holders are already six points behind Arsenal after having only secured four points from the first five Premier League games of the campaign. Costa admits that following last season's success, there have been too much self-confidence in the squad but said the dressing room is convinced the club can turn the situation around.
He said: "The players are to blame. We may have believed that after winning the title last season this year would be the same. But the Premier League doesn't work like that. The teams have bolstered and are always improving. It is the same case for myself.
"Last year was good and I maybe thought that this season was going to be the same without doing more but a player always has to improve. Perhaps there have been too much self-confidence. We know we can give much more than we are giving.
"The boss knows we are disappointed but the atmosphere in the dressing room is still great. He is showing us that he trusts in us to turnaround the situation."
The Spaniard scored 20 goals in just 26 Premier League appearances during his debut campaign despite missing a number of games due to recurrent hamstring problems. Costa claimed his fitness is improving every day but refuses to set personal targets.
"Hopefully I can score 50 goals but I don't want to put me a target. The truth is that if don't score more goals in the rest of the campaign but the team win the Premier League and the Champions League, I would be more than happy. I would sign that straight away," he said.
The striker, meanwhile, claimed the arrival of Radamel Falcao during the summer transfer window is not a threat for him but a boost that can lead to him improving his game. Costa said: "You have to ask that to the manager [is my place in the starting line-up at risk?]. Falcao is working well and if the boss decides to use him instead of me, I cannot do anything but to keep fighting and doing my best.
"It's always important to have a player like him in the squad. He [scores] goals but is also a good person in the dressing room. He helps me to improve because competition in a great team is always necessary".
Costa said does not rule out playing alongside him to revive the prolific partnership he forged with the Colombia international during his time at Atletico Madrid.
"Falcao is a great striker. He creates spaces because rivals are always aware of him and scores many goals. He will give a lot to the team," Costa said. "We've played a lot of games together at Atletico Madrid but [manager Diego] Simeone uses a different formation and here the manager has to decide [whether we can play together]."
The Spain international has also hailed the summer arrival of his compatriot Pedro Rodriguez. The winger will be unavailable for the game against the Gunners due to injury but Costa is sure the ex-Barcelona star will be a hit in the Premier League.
"Pedro is an amazing player," he said. "He will help a lot. He has goals, speed and fight. The manager wanted him with us because I believe the squad needed a player like him. He will provide a lot of competition in our attack."