Jose Mourinho admitted that Ashley Cole is not the happiest player in the camp after losing his starting spot to Cesar Azpilicueta – but he will hand him a chance in at least one of Chelsea’s next three fixtures.
The Blues travel to the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland tomorrow night, they will come up against Stoke City at the weekend and play their final Champions League group game against Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday – Mourinho did not specify which game Cole was likeliest to feature in.
He told reporters:
“I think any player that normally start matches, and Ashley starts matched for all his career, when they don’t naturally they are not the happiest guy in the camp.
“But professionally he is always. Team player yes, friend of his friends, yes, so I can also say he deserves to play.
“I don’t know if he will start against Sunderland but one of these two games yes. Sunderland or Stoke, one of these two matches I think he will.
“Or if I decide not to (start Cole), then Steaua next week is a possibility.
“Azpilicueta is playing for a group of consecutive matches and sooner or later I have to chance so Ashley will play soon.
“But in my opinion Azpilicueta is doing really well so it’s a question of Ashley keeping working and waiting for his opportunity.”
Mourinho is obviously impressed with Azpilicueta’s performances and form in the left-back role despite it not being his natural position and has no real reason to change is – especially as Cole’s performances were not up to scratch prior to his injury and it has been a really long time since the England international enjoyed both good and consistent form.
There are a lot of question marks over Cole’s future as Chelsea are reportedly looking at the likes of Luke Shaw and Ricardo Rodriguez as replacements for the 32-year-old whilst he’s allegedly considering a move to the MLS to link up with former Arsenal team mate Thierry Henry at the New York Red Bulls, but I doubt that move will materialise as soon as January as he would be putting his World Cup place in danger.
Cole’s deal is due to expire at the end of the season and should the Blues invest in a new left-back I’m not entirely sure he will be offered an extension. He definitely needs to drastically improve on his recent performances if he wants to fight for a new one.