Pedro Rodriguez insists Diego Costa remains fully committed to Chelsea, despite recent speculation over a January move to China. The former Barcelona star also told IBTimes UK that he is in his best form since arriving to Stamford Bridge, ahead of a crucial week that sees the Premier League leaders visiting Liverpool before a home derby with Arsenal.
Costa's time at Stamford Bridge looked to be coming to an end earlier this month after missing the 3-0 victory over Leicester City following reports of a row with Antonio Conte over his fitness – and after Tianjin Quanjian confirmed they want to lure the Spaniard to the Chinese Super League.
But even though the transfer window remains open, speculation stopped after the Chelsea top scorer played a role in the last two victories over Hull City and Brentford, scoring a goal against the Tigers before coming off the bench to replace Pedro in the Saturday's FA Cup win over the Bees.
Costa's compatriot Pedro said the Chelsea striker recently had a conversation with the rest of his teammates to clarify his commitment to the Blues and is now ready to keep "fighting" with the rest of the team to win the Premier League.
"We are happy for having Diego back. Diego is a very important player for this team. Whenever he is inside pitch, scoring goals as he is doing this season and playing at this level, is great for the team," Pedro told IBTimes UK after Chelsea's win over Brentford.
"We simply remained calmed with him and he also spoke in the dressing room (to explain the situation). We are all behind him and he is very involved with the rest of the group. He is committed and we are all fighting for the same goal."
Pedro's own future at Chelsea was under doubt in the summer after the Spaniard struggled to make the impact expected during his first season at the club. The 29-year-old was then linked with a return to Barcelona but continued at the Blues – managing to resurrect his career in the Premier League, later becoming a key player for Conte.
The Spaniard was the only regular starter alongside Cesar Azpilicueta, who made the line-up against Brentford after being deployed in the wing-back to replace Victor Moses. Pedro scored a brace in the previous round against Peterborough and excelled once again in the win over Brentford, netting the second goal of the game before setting up Branislav Ivanovic for the 3-0.
Asked whether this is his best moment since leaving Barcelona, Pedro promptly replied: "Yes". "I am also happy for the result. It was important to beat Brentford, to keep progressing in the FA Cup. Playing as a wing-back is new for me and I am getting used to it. I am very happy to have scored a goal and given an assist to help the team win. The manager has trusted me to play in this position, and for me it is always a pleasure to play no matter where. I always have the desire to play, to help the team and to do well and I am very happy that the manager is giving me his confidence. "
"Personally nothing has changed (from my first season here). Simply the team is better now, more compact, more solid... We are up there in the top of the table and with a lot of confident. We did not have that (confidence) last year. That is why last season we had such bad results and this year we are doing so well."
Chelsea's impressive form contrasted with Liverpool's after the Reds won just one game in eight (since the start of 2017) having being knocked out of the EFL Cup and the FA Cup last week by Southampton and Wolverhampton respectively.
Pedro pointed out that Liverpool already beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and refused to take anything for granted ahead of their visit to Anfield on Tuesday night.
"Liverpool (are in a bad run) but they have a great team. In their stadium they are a very strong, they press very well... They're making a great season and it's going to be a very tough game for us. We will prepare it well in the few days that we have to try to give out best. Practically the whole team could rest against Brentford and that would be good for the manager," Pedro said while hailing also the importance of the following home clash with Arsenal to the title race.
"The games with Liverpool and Arsenal are very important but I do not think (they will be decisive for the title.) It would be very good for us to win both games because we would extend the advantage to open more the gap with our rivals. First, we will prepare the Liverpool game because it will be very difficult and then we will have time to think in the clash with Arsenal.