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Chelsea competition fires Cole

Published: Wednesday 5 March 2008, 9.20CET
Joe Cole believes that a fully-fit squad gives Chelsea FC plenty of reason to think they can beat Olympiacos CFP and continue their journey towards a maiden final.
by Trevor Haylett
from London

Tournament statistics

ChelseaOlympiacos

Goals scored20
 
11
Attempts on target86
 
41
Attempts off target97
 
31
Corners61
 
35
Offsides50
 
34
Fouls committed217
 
147
Yellow cards17
 
17
Red cards1
 
1

Matches

4 March 2008

Milan
0-2
Arsenal
Sevilla
3-2
(2-3p)
Fenerbahçe
Barcelona
1-0
Celtic
Man. United
1-0
Lyon

5 March 2008

Real Madrid
1-2
Roma
Chelsea
3-0
Olympiacos
Porto
1-0
(1-4p)
Schalke

11 March 2008

Internazionale
0-1
Liverpool
 
Published: Wednesday 5 March 2008, 9.20CET

Chelsea competition fires Cole

Joe Cole believes that a fully-fit squad gives Chelsea FC plenty of reason to think they can beat Olympiacos CFP and continue their journey towards a maiden final.

Joe Cole believes a fully-fit squad gives Chelsea FC plenty of reason to believe they can overcome Olympiacos CFP at Stamford Bridge and continue their journey towards a first UEFA Champions League final.

Big names return
With the likes of Frank Lampard, Andriy Shevchenko, Florent Malouda and captain John Terry back in action after spells on the sidelines, the clean bill of health only increases the selection dilemma for manager Avram Grant – with several high-profile players sure to be left kicking their heels. Cole experienced that frustration for himself nine days ago when named on the bench for the English League Cup final, but having marked his return to the starting lineup with a goal at the weekend, he says it is part and parcel of life at one of the top clubs.

'No dramas'
"It is the same at Manchester United [FC] and Arsenal [FC] – big clubs have big players who are left out from time to time," said the England midfielder, who scored Chelsea's second goal in an impressive 4-0 win at Cole's former team West Ham United FC on Saturday. "As a footballer you have responsibility for one thing and one thing only, and that's your own performance. My job is to play as well as I can for Chelsea when selected, and I don't pay any attention to any of the dramas that surround this club."

'Confidence is high'
Chelsea won only one of four matches in all competitions before the 2-1 extra-time defeat by Tottenham Hotspur FC in the League Cup final, yet Cole insists the London side – UEFA Champions League semi-finalists in three of the last four seasons – are firmly back on track. "We had a dip in form leading up to the final and that culminated in a poor performance, but that's in the past and we are only focusing on Olympiacos and playing well," the 26-year-old added. "Confidence is high and all the players are fit, which is the first time that has happened in a long while. It's a great moment for this club and we are ready to build some good form."

'Fight for everything'
At their best Chelsea must be considered among the favourites to lift this trophy for the first time and an appearance in the Moscow final would have added appeal for owner Roman Abramovich, who is keen to see Chelsea crowned European champions in his home country. Yet they are also only seven points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal with a game in hand and this weekend they seek to progress in the FA Cup with a quarter-final at Barnsley FC. Cole argues against prioritising one title at the expense of another. "A club like Chelsea have to be fighting for everything," he explained. "You can't pick and choose at this level and on Wednesday all we will be concerned with is fighting to get in the last eight of the Champions League."

Last updated: 05/03/08 21.00CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15106/match=301897/prematch/focus/index.html#chelsea+competition+fires+cole

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