Joe Cole delighted to be back as Chelsea hammer Blackburn Rovers
25 October 2009 01:41
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The England midfielder, whose current deal expires at the end of the season, has repeatedly said he wanted to wait until he was back in action before thinking about a new long-term contract.
But Cole's successful return after 10 months out injured with knee ligament damage is set to spark Chelsea into offering him a new deal as soon as possible.
Chelsea 5 Blackburn 0
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The 27-year-old was superb in Chelsea's easy victory over Rovers, playing behind the front two in his favoured central role. A brace from Frank Lampard, an own goal by Gael Givet plus strikes from Michael Essien and Didier Drogba - his eighth of the season - completed the rout.
Cole's work-rate, trickery and flair had the Stamford Bridge faithful drooling with delight. He was given a standing ovation when substituted in the 76th minute and coach Carlo Ancelotti hugged the midfielder like a long-lost son before allowing him to sit down in the dugout.
Chelsea are hoping to get the Fifa ban, which prevents them from signing any players until 2011, suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
That would allow them to boost their squad in January but Cole's return could go a long way to easing their concerns.
The former West Ham man was so delighted with his performance that he has already set his sights on a return to the England squad with next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa clearly on his mind.
"I am very determined to get back to playing for Chelsea and England and today was a good step for me," said Cole.
"I know all the games won't be like Blackburn but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a great win for us.
"Over the years I have learned to be patient with myself and the chances come, especially at a club like this. We have to rotate players, which we haven't done as well over the last three years, and which we could have done.
"Everyone looks fresh and everyone is happy they are all playing games. We look sharp.
"I just try and do my best and enjoy my football. I genuinely love playing the game. It was brilliant just to be out there again. But I enjoyed playing in a more central role - it was the first time in my career.
"I started off playing youth-team football in that position and then moved out to the wing. I just enjoy playing. I am very lucky to play for Chelsea and very lucky to play for England and there is so much to look forward to over the next few months.
"It is a great time. I am so excited about playing football again. Sometimes it takes something like that, when you are out for so long, to make you realise. Every day I go into training is a blessing. I just love it and I am enjoying being back."
The victory was also the perfect tonic for Ancelotti, who returned home to be with his sick father in Italy.
Dad Giuseppe is recovering from surgery but Ancelotti is hoping he will be over the worst.
Meanwhile, Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has warned his players they will be axed if they fail to show more resilience and mental toughness away from home.
He labelled their second-half performance as "pathetic" after they conceded four goals in 15 minutes.
"If we had stuck to our guns and lost 1-0 or 2-0 then you have got something work on," said Allardyce.
"What looked as though it was working good tactically in the first half completely went out of the window in the second.
"I cannot understand the mentality of my players losing what I asked them to do.
"They have got to make sure they stick to the game-plan if they want to improve their results away from home.
"They are listening because of what happened in the first half but what they are deciding is that when they are 2-0 down, they try and score three. That is a bit naive to say the least.
"It is Stamford Bridge. Scoring one is hard enough. Chelsea have only conceded one all season. I told them all about that and if they were going to get a result, it was going to be a 0-0.
"The object is not to let the opposition score and that is the best way to get a result at Stamford Bridge.
"But they are going to lose their place in the team if they are not careful. They are offering themselves up for being dropped.
"We want them all saying, 'You can't drop me, I've got the shirt, and somebody has got to fight for it'. But it is not difficult to change the team at the moment."