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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 1, 2007

Mourinho: We can cope without injured Cole

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho is confident he can overcome the loss of England left-back Ashley Cole.

The club will today await the results of scans on Cole's knee ligament injury after the defender was carried off during the second half of their 3-0 victory over Blackburn at Stamford Bridge last night.

Cole is almost certainly out of the England squad for next week's international with Spain at Old Trafford and Chelsea are fearing their first-choice left-back could miss the rest of the season.

The former Arsenal defender trapped his studs in the turf as he attempted to control the ball and went down in agony clutching his left knee.

Mourinho believes he has sustained ligament damage but the Portuguese coach is convinced the squad can cope if Cole is sidelined for the rest of the campaign.

Captain John Terry and defender Khalid Boulahrouz are on the brink of a return from calf and knee ligament injuries respectively and Mourinho said: 'In this moment we have Wayne Bridge who is playing a lot and playing well.

'But it means I have less options. Because we have no wingers, Bridge is a player I could have used as an outside left. So in this moment I have only one left-back.

'We are doing so many things to have a team to compete in all competitions and we must compete without Ashley.

'Khalid Boulahrouz will train with the group for the first time on Thursday and maybe in one more week he can play.

'I have to make a decision about whether to play John Terry this weekend against Charlton or the game afterwards against Middlesbrough.

'He is quite close to coming back but I have not spoken to Steve McClaren about him. First, we have to see if he plays against Charlton or not and what the reaction is after the game.'

Mourinho though was full of praise for his front pairing of Andriy Shevchenko and Didier Drogba who ran Rovers ragged all night.

It was Drogba who scored his 23rd of the season to put Chelsea in front in the sixth minute - latching on to a pass from Frank Lampard to beat Brad Friedel.

Lampard made the game safe with Chelsea's second in the 67th minute - a 25-yard thunderbolt that flew into the roof of the net for his 16th goal of the campaign.

Substitute Salomon Kalou wrapped up the scoring with a third in the 90th minute.

Rovers were outclassed for most of the match but Chelsea keeper Petr Cech had to be alert to prevent Benni McCarthy scoring eight minutes from time.

Rovers boss Mark Hughes said: 'We made a bright opening but we allowed Drogba in for the first goal. But overall we kept possession in midfield and caused them some problems.

'But then Frank Lampard, who I thought had a quiet game, produces a fantastic strike and that's the quality Chelsea have when they are not playing well.

'They have players who can produce individual pieces of magic and win matches. I am disappointed with the result but happy with the performance.

'We asked questions of Chelsea and not many teams do that or create as many chances as we did. We just didn't take our opportunities when we had them.'