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Antonio Conte comments on Diego Costa almost leaving

Middlesbrough v Chelsea - Premier League

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea celebrates victory with Diego Costa after the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Chelsea at Riverside Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Antonio Conte has spoken about Diego Costa coming close to a Chelsea exit in the summer.

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When Conte first arrived as Chelsea manager there was plenty of speculation that Costa, 28, would be leaving the Blues as the likes of Alvaro Morata were lined up to replace him.

Costa admitted he was incredibly close to leaving the current Premier League leaders in an interview earlier this week, and ahead of Chelsea’s showdown with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via he revealed he had no issues that Costa was in two minds.

“When Diego decided to stay, he said he wanted to fight for this club and for his shirt. I wasn’t concerned,” Conte said. “He is showing great patience in the right way, in every moment of the game. We are happy for this. He is completely focused on the game.”

Boy, Conte must be delighted Costa stayed at Stamford Bridge.

He has been back to his best under Conte with focused, disciplined displays and he leads the PL in goals with 14 and also has five assists. Costa has been the talisman for Chelsea, so often popping up with game-changing performances and weighing in with vital goals.

Last season Costa scored just twice before Jose Mourinho was fired in December and had 12 PL goals in total. That was somewhat of a Sophomore slump after he scored 20 goals in the 2014-15 campaign as Chelsea won the title.

Now Costa leads the line on his own and without him Chelsea would struggle massively.

What a difference a few months can make.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports