Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has revealed that his friends told him he should have hit Diego Costa following their altercation in September.
The Gunners were involved in a heated affair against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League match which saw both Santi Carzola and Gabriel red carded during a 2-0 defeat.
But Chelsea striker Diego Costa was later handed a retrospective ban for a collision with Koscielny, where he appeared to lash out at the centre-back, whilst Gabriel’s dismissal was later rescinded by the FA’s independent regulatory commission.
The Frenchman showed restraint at the time of the incident, with his team chasing a 1-0 deficit, but he has since admitted that those around him have told him he should have hit back.
He told newspaper L’Equipe:
At the time, when he gives me a slap on the face, I don’t pay attention.
“We’re in a defensive situation and I continue to play.
“After he pushes me, I fall and get up because I’m not the type of player who drops down like that. Sure, I could have had a reaction but I managed to keep my nerves.
“He wants to blow a defender’s fuse but you have to stay calm.
“I received a lot of messages telling me: ‘Well done because I would have hit him’.
“It’s five years that I’ve been at Arsenal, I have over 200 matches with my team, some very important. I played a World Cup and the Euros. All this experience helps my serenity and allows me to not be overwhelmed by the emotions of an encounter.”
Whilst Koscielny and his team-mates lost on the day, they have recovered and gained revenge on their London rivals by climbing to second in the Premier League, with Chelsea currently languishing in 16th position following their worst-ever start to a top-flight season in the Premier League era.