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Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes the biggest mistake Antonio Conte made this season was getting rid of Diego Costa.

Redknapp believes Chelsea became less aggressive and too nice after Costa left Chelsea which has affected the Blues this season.

“The biggest mistake Antonio Conte made was getting rid of Diego Costa,” Redknapp told Daily Mail.

“With the Spain striker, Chelsea were a horrible, aggressive team to play against. They would use every trick in the book to win matches.

“You could not bully Costa but without him, this Chelsea team are too nice.

“They have lost not only their edge but also their ruthlessness in front of goal. After a bright start, striker Alvaro Morata has struggled and Chelsea have scored nine fewer goals than at the same stage last season.

“Think back to that string of stalemates at the turn of the year. Those could have been avoided with a forward like Costa, who specialised in grabbing those crucial goals in tight games.

“I understand Conte’s reasoning. He may have found the striker awkward and difficult to deal with but part of being a great manager is being able to handle those egos.

“By jettisoning Costa, he cut off his nose to spite his face but Conte is not solely to blame for Chelsea’s problems this season.

“Every time a Stamford Bridge manager gains confidence, the club seem to pull the rug from under him.

“He will argue that he has not been given the backing to build a squad that can compete on all four fronts.

“The players must also take responsibility because when things go wrong at Chelsea, it quickly becomes a crisis.

“It is easy to forget what a wonderful job Conte did last season. Sacking managers has worked for Chelsea in the past but they will struggle to find a better coach to replace him.”

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