REACTION: CONCERN FOR COLE BUT PRAISE FOR OTHERS

Posted on: Thu 01 Feb 2007

The 3-0 victory over Blackburn maintains our six point gap behind Manchester United but it wasn't without its cost for the Blues as the injury jinx strikes again.

 

José Mourinho saw Chelsea and England left-back, Ashley Cole, carried off on a stretcher 54 minutes into the game, after stepping on the ball and appearing to twist his knee.

 

Immediately following the game, José said it was too early to comment on the severity of the injury.

 

"We have to wait a couple of days before we know. He has a problem in the knee, I don't know what. He can't walk so it must be something serious."

 

On the positive side, José said: "At this moment we have Bridge. He's playing well, he's been playing a lot so he has the routine.

 

'But it's one less option because, with no wingers, I could use Bridge like I did before as an outside-left. So I have only one left-back."

 

Still missing several key players through injury and playing others out of position, Mourinho likened the squad to a blanket!

 

"If the blanket is not the dimension of your bed, you pull the blanket up but then your feet are cold!"

 

Asked why he did not buy a bigger blanket, he responded tongue-in-cheek:

 

"The supermarket is closed," adding that, although there would be no last minute signings on transfer deadline day, he was satisfied with the quality of his current squad.

 

"I am content because the blanket is cashmere, it is no ordinary blanket," he joked.

 

Reflecting on the game itself, Mourinho was complimentary towards the evening's opponents.

 

"They played with a great attitude. They played to win with attacking people and tried to score goals," he commended.

 

"Of course we could score four, five, six goals but they also could score and played with a very positive attitude."

 

On Didier Drogba, the scorer of the first goal of the night but his 23rd of the season, Mourinho praised:

 

"Didier is doing what he did from the first game. When the team was winning 1-0 and the game was difficult, he was chasing people, he was making tackles, he was helping in defence.

 

"These are the kind of people who give you extra and because they give extra, they win matches. They win trophies and, at this difficult time our team, without important players, is still in every competition because of that mentality. We are doing very, very well."

 

But for some superb goalkeeping (as usual when he plays us) from Blackburn's Brad Friedel, Andriy Shevchenko might also have found himself on the scoresheet. But his lack of goals does not bother his delighted manager.

 

"In my opinion, it was his best game.

 

"He doesn't need to score goals to play brilliant and today he played brilliant. He did things that he never did before. He was fighting, he was strong in duels. He was fast, he was always in the right place. He was always in a dangerous position and really, really strong. Absolutely brilliant!"

 

With Shevchenko now back in Mourinho's favour, questions were posed about the form of Germany captain, Michael Ballack. In response, the manager resolutely gave his full backing to the midfielder.

 

"He gives a big contribution for the team. Maybe not for you, maybe not for the supporters but for me, a big contribution. And because I make the team, if he makes me happy, if he gives me what I want, he is okay.

 

Mourinho continued his backing to the under-fire player.

 

"It's obvious that football in England is faster than any place in the world. It is not easy for players to adapt, that's obvious. But it's also obvious that he gives everything for the team. Tactically he plays exactly how I want him to play and I think he will get that little bit of sharpness that will make the difference."

 

By Gill Lester