Chelsea striker Diego Costa has played down his bust-up with Pedro during the Blues' 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night (4 January), claiming that the former Barcelona winger is like a "brother" to him.
The two Spaniards got fans talking in the opening stages of the London derby, becoming embroiled in a heated argument after failing to link up with one another during a counter-attack. A furious Costa appeared to reproach Pedro when his compatriot failed to run into space to collect an assist.
However, speaking to IBTimes UK after the game to explain the incident, the Chelsea hitman said: "Nothing happened. We have a great understanding with each other. When you have a trusted relationship and intimacy with a teammate it is normal for these things to happen. It was just a moment during the game, and that's it. It was nothing. I told him: 'You have to get in there, why didn't you go?' He said 'I went' and I said he didn't. That's it. Pedro is my brother and we love each other."
The game was goalless at that point, but two identical goals by Dell Alli either side of half-time saw Chelsea's 13-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt at Tottenham. However Costa believes there is nothing to worry about, as the Blues kept on fighting until the game's final second.
Questioned about Antonio Conte's mood in the dressing room following the reverse, Costa replied: "We have to be aware that we have lost just one game in the last 14. The boss knew that this moment could come. But the important thing is that the team have fought to get a result. We are hurting, but there is a great spirit in the dressing room. We are not happy when we lose, but that's it.
"We were playing against a great rival and in their own home. We already knew it was going to be a difficult game. We made two mistakes and they were have able to take advantage of their opportunities to score."
Chelsea remain top of the Premier League, five points ahead of second-placed Liverpool and seven clear of Tottenham and Manchester City. Costa believes those four sides, along with Arsenal and Manchester City, will make it a six-way challenge for the title this year.
"I think the six teams that at the top of the table are all candidates to win the Premier League. During the first part of the season every game has been different. We have sometimes played against teams from the bottom of the table that tested us a lot and then we beat some top teams easily. Tottenham have a great squad, they play very well and are a very tough team to beat," Costa said.
"In Spain when a team like Real Madrid or Barcelona have a big gap at the top of the table it is said that La Liga is over, but in the Premier League it is different. Here any team can beat you, you lose two games and everything is even again."