Cole claims Chelsea have psychological boost with place at Premier League summit
12:31 GMT, 23 September 2012
Ashley Cole claims that Chelsea's late win against Stoke which cemented their place at the top of the Barclays Premier League is a psychological boost for the Blues.
The left-back popped up in the box to score the only goal of the game with just a few minutes remaining and now he hopes it signals the Blues' intent for the season ahead.
‘Mentally that is good for us,' he said. 'Last season we didn’t have too good a time in the Premier League, it has taken two years for us to be top of the league again and hopefully we can stay there, but it is a long way to go.'
Last gasp: Ashley Cole strikes to earn Chelsea the win
The last time Cole scored for Chelsea was in 2010 against Wigan, his strike part of an amazing 8-0 win which earned his side the title.
‘It is always nice to score but it was more about the win and staying top of the league,’ he explained.
Chelsea's saviour said not having the time to think helped him score his late winner against Stoke on Saturday.
Cole, who had a impressive match, had fired a couple of wayward shots off target in the first half but was clinical as he lofted the ball past Asmir Begovic with just a couple of minutes remaining.
'I had a few shots in the first half when I had maybe too much time to think and they went over but this one came so quick that I didn’t have much time to think,' said Cole.
'The first thing that came into my brain was to try to dink it over the keeper because I thought he would go down.'
He continued: 'It was a battle. It is always physical and Stoke always make it hard for us to play our football. They defend deep with 10 men so it is hard to break them down, but for the goal it was a great move down the right and I took a chance and got in the box.'
It is said Cole is carrying a persistent ankle problem that can limit his ability to train and the England star joked after the win that 'my legs can't keep getting me up and down the pitch'. But he added on Chelsea TV: 'I feel as fit as I've ever been.'
Pure delight: Cole was ecstatic at sealing Chelsea's place at the top
Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo said he had recommended that the Chelsea board keep Cole at the club 'as long as they can' after watching the left-back succeed where 130million of attacking talent had failed and put the ball in the back of the net.
Team-mate Juan Mata was shocked to see it was Cole who was on the end of his clever flick.
The Spain winger said: 'I didn't know it was Ashley Cole. I guessed that someone was there.
'Luckily, it was Ashley and he chipped the ball and he showed that he's one of the best full-backs in the world.'
That is beyond dispute, although goalscoring has never been a big part of Cole's game and the left-back warned that was unlikely to change in Chelsea's new attacking system.
'I tend to stay back a little bit more,' he said.
'With the players we've got, we have to change the way we play and we have to get the ball down as much as we can and give it to people like Oscar and Eddie (Hazard) and Juan to try to make some magic.'
He added: 'When the fans watch these players, they're so exciting.
'When Oscar's getting the ball and running at defenders, when Hazard's getting the ball and running at defenders, it's exciting, and the future's looking good for Chelsea.
Impressed: Juan Mata praised his Chelsea colleague Cole
'This season, we've got to keep going and, hopefully, we don't get too many injuries and we keep going and keep winning games.'
Oscar and substitute Victor Moses impressed as part of a
new look Chelsea side which dominated the match, even if they left it
late to win. Cole was enthusiastic about their prospects.
said: 'The players that we have added to the squad are only going to
help us. They are young and enthusiastic and willing to learn off the
older players, and they have great skill and great belief in their own
ability which can hopefully help us through the season.'
Saturday's game was the first time Mata, Hazard and Oscar had started together and it was no surprise to see them struggle to click, despite their obvious individual talents.
Di Matteo was confident that persisting with the trio would eventually pay off, something that would have been music to the ears of Mata after what was the winger's first start since he was given some time off by the club.
'We have two or three more players, quality players, that like to play and I like to play with them,' he said.
'We enjoy playing and it's the way I like to play, with the ball, passing, assisting and trying to get some chances.'