Chelsea 5 Blackburn 0: 'Genius' Cole is happy to be Chelsea's diamond geezer

26 October 2009 02:18
Carlo Ancelotti called him a genius, but Joe Cole was just happy to be back where he belongs.

The midfielder, making his first League start since rupturing the ligaments in his right knee last January, back-heeled, flicked and darted his way through 77 minutes on the pitch he calls home.

The tricks did not all come off and few sides will give leaders Chelsea the freedom they enjoyed in the second half, but Cole made a strong case for continued selection at the top of Ancelotti's diamond.

Heading for victory: Ryan Nelsen cannot stop Didier Drogba scoring the fifth goal

'The position suits me down to the ground. I can give options to the team left, right and central,' said Cole.

It has been a difficult journey back to fitness for Cole, 27, who missed Chelsea's pre-season tour of the USA after a second operation on his right knee.

He has appreciated the guidance of manager Ancelotti and said: 'He had knee injuries in his career and he knows all about it. He played at the top level, that's really helped. When managers don't play the game, sometimes they don't understand because they've never been through it.'

Previous managers tended to play Cole on the wing, but Ancelotti trusts the England international in a central role. He said: 'I think he has to play behind the two strikers at the moment. I have a new player because we looked in the summer for a player behind the strikers and now we have two fantastic players to play there in Deco and Joe Cole. I don't want to forget Frank Lampard because he can also play there.

Comeback: Joe Cole made a spectacular return to action for Chelsea

'Joe is a top player. He is a modern midfielder. I was surprised because, after nine months, it's not so easy to return to play with this kind of performance. He played very, very well. He is a genius '

Cole was lively and inventive but far from the only positive to come from a comprehensive win. Nicolas Anelka came deep to pick up the ball, Michael Ballack pushed play forward with a one-touch pass and Lampard and Didier Drogba cut their way through the Blackburn defence.

It resulted in five goals to add to the four Chelsea put past Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night and another clean sheet.

Gael Givet's 20th-minute own goal ruined Blackburn's game plan, with Sam Allardyce playing a 4-5-1 formation in the hope of stifling Chelsea, but the visitors, helped by some excellent saves from Paul Robinson, clung on until half-time.

The Rovers manager labelled his side's second-half performance 'pathetic' after they abandoned his pragmatic advice and allowed Chelsea to exploit the obvious gulf in class.

Allardyce said: 'If we'd stuck to our guns and perhaps come off League having lost this game 1-0, then you've got something to work on. But I'm back to square one again. I can't understand the mentality of my players losing what I asked them to do.

'What they are deciding when the game goes wrong is: "We are 2-0 down, let's forget about that and let's go and try to score three". Well that's a bit naive, to say the least, at Stamford Bridge.

'The Premier League is more than the ability, it's the mental side. You can only play in the Premier League if you have that mental toughness and resilience. The ability comes after that.'

Match StatsCHELSEA (4-4-2): Cech 6; Ivanovic 6, Terry 7, Carvalho 6 (Bruma 67min),Belletti 6 (Ferreira 61); Essien 6, Ballack 6, Lampard 8, Cole 7(Sturridge 77); Drogba 7, Anelka 6. BLACKBURN (4-5-1): Robinson 4;Jacobsen 5 (Salgado 60), Nelson 5, Givet 5, Olsson 5; Diouf 5, Emerton4, Andrews 5, N'Zonzi 5, Pedersen 5 (Hoilett 69); Roberts 4 (Kalinic53).

Bookings: Pedersen.

Man of the match: Frank Lampard.

Referee: AlanWiley.

The floodgates opened after the restart. There were two goals for Lampard - a controlled pass into the net from a Drogba cross and a 59th-minute penalty after Ryan Nelson had brought down the Ivory Coast striker - then a curling, right-foot 25-yard strike from Michael Essien and a powerful Drogba header from a Ballack corner.

But, even when Chelsea were coasting at 5-0 up, Terry sprinted back to the line to clear a Martin Olsson lob off the line after the midfielder had beaten Petr Cech.

It typified Chelsea's commitment. In a difficult week for Ancelotti, who flew back to Italy yesterday to see his 86-year-old father, Giuseppe, who is ill, the Italian could not have picked two better opponents to restore confidence after last Saturday's 2-1 loss at Aston Villa, but Chelsea still pounced on the rich pickings put in front of them.

Problems defending set-pieces have been replaced by talk of a genius, which is just the way Ancelotti wants it.

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Source: Daily_Mail