Cole shrugs off racist taunts
West Ham striker Carlton Cole has responded to allegations of racist abuse at Upton Park by telling Millwall fans: "I might be as strong as a gorilla but I'm not a monkey.''
Visiting supporters were heard aiming monkey chants at the 25-year-old England striker, who appeared to gesture back at them when substituted towards the end of a night where there were scenes of violence in and around the ground.
Referee Paul Taylor may not have noticed the abuse amid the chaos to put in his report to the Football Association - but Cole did not miss it.
"I heard it but it's football,'' he said. "I don't care. I know I'm not a monkey. I might be as strong as a gorilla but I'm not a monkey.
"You've just got to carry on and get on with it and we got the result. That was the main point, the fans got what they deserved.''
Millwall have issued a statement following the emergence of a racial element to a shocking Carling Cup second-round tie.
A statement from the League One side read: "Millwall FC condemns racist abuse by supporters of both sides on Tuesday night.
"There is no place for racism in society and both Millwall and West Ham work tirelessly in our respective communities to tackle this problem.''
Condemning "both sides'' implies home fans being at fault too, with reports of Millwall's Jason Price also being targeted.
Cole is happy to brush the abuse to one side and follow the example of Frank Lampard, whose game has remained unaffected by fans jeering him.
"Being targeted is part and parcel of football,'' Cole said. "As you get bigger in football, you're going to get taunts.
"I take someone like Frank Lampard as an example. He gets abuse everywhere but he still gets his head down and carries on.
"That makes him a bigger and better person. He puts in performances week in, week out. I take people like that as examples to hopefully help me with my game.
"It's about mental toughness. You just have to carry on with your game and usually you come out good.''
Cole admitted he was shocked at the general scenes of carnage during the game.
"I've never been involved in such a turbulent game like that,'' Cole added.
"Passions were running high and it was a unique experience. I might not experience something like that in my career, so it was new to me to be a part of something like that.''