Posted on: Mon 16 Oct 2006

Joe Cole has backed Hilario to succeed if the Portuguese goalkeeper is asked to take Petr Cech's place in goal for the Barcelona game on Wednesday.


Following head injuries to both Cech and Carlo Cudicini at the weekend, Jose Mourinho indicated the 30 year-old he signed in the summer is in line for his Chelsea debut.


In 2000, Hilario played twice against Barcelona for Porto in the Champions League when Mourinho was still an assistant at Barca.


'He's a very good goalkeeper,' states Cole. 'It is a possibility he'll play and if he comes in, he won't let anyone down. He looks good in training and is an experienced goalkeeper.'


Cole also revealed that despite standing three inches short of six foot, he himself was a candidate for the emergency keeper role taken on by John Terry in the Reading game.


'I do mess about in goal after training but JT is much better than me,' he explained. 'But I was thinking maybe in the last minute you want your defenders out there.'


'When Petr went off, I actually said on the bench, what if Carlo gets injured now I'll have to go in goal.


'But when the time came, I don't think they were too keen to put me between the sticks.'


Cole made his own return from injury in the 63rd minute and likened the scenes at the end of the game to two seasons ago at Blackburn. That match was a hard-fought victory after a potentially demoralising injury to Arjen Robben.


'We've shown before that we have character,' Cole added. 'Reading did exceptionally well on the day and they have got some good ball players. They are not going to make it easy for us and they stopped us playing at times.


'They got the momentum when we went down to ten men but we were delighted with the result at the end.


'These games are horrible to play in for ball players because you don't get the ball but when you get the result, there is nothing better.'


by Paul Mason