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'It can only be speculation' - Conte cools Costa to China claims

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte is adamant that news of a bid for Diego Costa from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian is "only speculation" after reports of a row between the two emerged on Friday.

Costa was left out of Chelsea's squad for the 3-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday, with the Spain international suffering from a back injury, according to the club.

Reports in the build-up to the match claimed that Costa and Conte had exchanged heated words, with their supposed row apparently revolving around his injury and the rumoured offer from China.

Conte was insistent about the situation after the match, however, telling a media conference that he has not been given information from the club regarding any offer for Costa.

"I don't know anything about this," the Italian told reporters. "The club didn't inform me about this. For this reason it can be only speculation."

But Conte failed to answer decisively when asked whether the former Atletico Madrid star will play for Chelsea again, instead turning his attention to those players who were involved at the King Power Stadium.

"Today I can't be concerned about this [whether or not Costa will play for them again]," he added.

"Because today my players showed me a great performance, great spirit. It's very important.

"When you are able to win this type of game against Leicester, 3-0, it means that I can't be concerned about anything.

"I must be pleased for my players, to work with these players. I want to continue to work with my players."

Conte was also unsure about the severity of Costa's injury, though he hinted at an update in the coming week.

He said: "I don't know. It's always very difficult [to know the severity]. I don't have his pain.

"It's important to understand when he recovers from his pain. We'll see next week about this."

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