Mata and Koke back misfiring Costa


Juan Mata and Koke have backed fellow Spain international Diego Costa to regain top form ahead of the international friendly against England on Friday.

Costa has struggled to replicate the form of his first season at Chelsea with just three goals in 17 appearances in all competitions with his struggles mirroring those of his club who are 16th in the Premier League table.

Costa has also had to content with accusations his game is being affected by a tendancy to be over-aggressive but former Chelsea man Mata, who is now at Manchester United, is confident the 27-year-old will soon be back among the goals.

He said at a media conference on Thursday: "Right now we're in the same team, Spain, and we want him to score goals. He's not in the best moment right now as he's not scoring as many as last season but I'm sure he'll soon start to score for Chelsea and for us as he's not forgotten how to."

Koke, who played alongside Costa at Atletico Madrid, believes his former team-mate just requires time.

Koke said: "He's really happy to play for Spain and we only need to be patient with him and he'll get the luck he's been missing this season."

Spain will come up against an England side that qualified for next summer's European Championship finals with a 100 per cent record and Mata is expecting a difficult evening against Roy Hodgson's men in Alicante.

He added: "England have got a great squad with a lot of confidence. I talked to Wayne [Rooney] the other day and he is very happy with how they are playing. It will be a tough game for us and for them and they'll be a tough rival in the Euros."

Spain endured a miserable World Cup in Brazil last summer, exiting the tournament at the group stage, but Koke believes they are now on the right track.

He said: "It's different because gone are the players who won everything and in have come some younger players. There's been a generational change but now it's up to us to try and win everything too.

"We're going to continue improving and hopefully win."