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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 9 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Apr 24, 2006

Cole backs Blues to bounce back from Cup exit

Joe Cole insists back-to-back titles will help ease the pain of Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool.

England midfielder Cole squandered a last-minute chance to take the tie into extra-time at Old Trafford on Saturday.

He admits the miss will be hard to forget but the Blues can bounce back by clinching the point they need to win the Premiership against Manchester United on Saturday.

Cole, 24, said: 'We want to win the title at home and it will have been a fantastic season. Chelsea have not won back-to-back titles before and it will be a tremendous achievement.

'Retaining the title is a lot harder than winning it the first time. Let's go and do that, put that to bed and it will be a great season.'

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insisted individual errors cost his team against Liverpool and blew the chance to win the club's first league and FA Cup double.

He blamed his defenders for the second Liverpool goal in the 2-1 defeat and said Cole's miss reminded him of Eidur Gudjohnsen's late chance in last year's Champions League semi-final second-leg.

Mourinho said: 'An open goal, just with the 'keeper in front, you have to put the ball in the net but I never like to go individually and make a player responsible for defeat, so I prefer honestly to say that we lost.

'If you go to extra-time, you go with a psychological advantage but football is about putting the ball in the net and we missed that chance like we missed at Anfield last season in the Champions League in the last minute.'

Asked if the miss would haunt him, Cole said: 'Yes but that's football. I will not be the best player ever to miss a last-minute chance in a semi-final or final and certainly not the worst.'

Liverpool clung on to book an FA Cup final place and Chelsea 'keeper Carlo Cudicini put it down to one of those days.

Cudicini said: 'We got back to 2-1 and we had the last 10 minutes where we tried to put them under pressure with crosses and create chances. Then we had the last chance with Coley. It was big but unfortunately it wasn't our day.'

The Italian goalkeeper watched his defenders make uncharacteristic errors to give Liverpool their two-goal lead.

John Arne Riise's opener flew threw the defensive wall from a free-kick and two mistimed headers from Paulo Ferreira and William Gallas gave Luis Garcia the chance to net the second.

Cudicini said: 'I don't know what happened with the second goal. It was quite strange to see Garcia alone coming towards me.

'I don't think he put it where he meant to but he scored and that's the most important thing.'