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Published: 14:06 | 6/5/16

Dembele accepts FA charge

Mousa Dembele has accepted a violent conduct charge for appearing to gouge Diego Costa's eye during Tottenham's 2-2 draw at Chelsea.

Dembele appeared to poke Diego Costa in the eye when tensions spilled over at the end of the first half, but the match officials missed the incident.

The Football Association reviewed footage of the incident before charging the player with violent conduct and warned that his actions "constituted violent conduct in circumstances where the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient."

The Belgian had until 6pm on Thursday to respond and while he has decided not to contest the charge, Tottenham will argue he should not receive a harsher sentence.

However, the FA have imposed a six-match ban, which will rule him out of the final two games of the season as well as the first four games of the 2016-17 campaign.

"Mousa Dembele will serve a six-match suspension with immediate effect after he committed an act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video," a statement from the FA read.

"The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder accepted the charge but denied the FA's claim that the standard punishment of three matches which would otherwise apply to this offence was clearly insufficient.

"An independent regulatory commission upheld the FA's claim at a hearing today (Friday, May 6, 2016) and ordered that an additional three match suspension was appropriate."

Speaking ahead of the FA's statement, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "If you cross the line, Mousa knows you need to pay but these things happen in football. We cannot justify it but we can understand it," manager."

Nine Tottenham players were booked, a Premier League record, during the ill-tempered game at Stamford Bridge, with both teams charged with three offences for failing to control their players.

While acknowledging that his players may have crossed the line, Pochettino believes Tottenham have proven they are a tough team to play against.

"I have heard in the last two years that people have written that Tottenham were always soft, something like that. But now we start to show character," Pochettino said.

"This season we have shown we are not a nice team to play. Not anymore. We show passion, maybe too much passion, but we need to take this in a positive way.

"This season we created very good energy between fans staff players, and we need to manage better to try to win title.

"Maybe we crossed the line [on Monday]. I am not stupid. I can recognise that. If you want to win titles and keep your position for a long time, in the future you need to show passion.

"I can understand my players, I can understand my staff. We have shown enough character and quality to be contenders for the Premier League."

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