Football

No concerns over Cole form - Wilkins

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Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins insists Chelsea are happy with Joe Cole's form after the England international was taken off at half-time during their 4-1 FA Cup fifth-round win over Cardiff.

Wilkins revealed that Cole's removal was a tactical decision by Carlo Ancelotti with Coca-Cola Championship side Cardiff holding the Blues 1-1 at the interval. The midfielder was sidelined for much of last year with knee ligament damage but Wilkins insists there is no problem with Cole.

"Joe wasn't injured, it was just a tactical thing," he said.

"We have a squad full of quality and therefore the manager will change things if he sees fit. We are very fortunate as far as that is concerned. I am not concerned about his form.

"When you have had a long lay-off like Joe, it really is a shock to the system. But it does take a bit of time to get back into your tip-top form. That will come with Joe. He is working extremely hard day-by-day, so we don't see any problems there at all."

Chelsea had gone in front in the second minute through Didier Drogba's 23rd goal of the season but Michael Chopra put City level before the break. Second-half goals from Michael Ballack, Daniel Sturridge and substitute Salomon Kalou ensured holders Chelsea reached the quarter-finals.

Defeated Cardiff boss David Jones paid tribute to his players after they threatened to pull off a major cup upset.

"It is hard on them because the scoreline looks like it has been a bit of a drubbing," he said.

"That bit of quality has come through for them. Certainly for over an hour we gave a good account of ourselves and showed great character after going a goal down after a couple of minutes.

"I decided to come here and have a go. Every player today deserved a lot of plaudits because they worked their socks off but you get undone by the little bit of quality their guys have."

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Topics:
Didier Drogba
Joe Cole
Internationals
Football
Salomon Kalou
Championship
Chelsea
David Jones
Premier League
Cardiff City
Michael Chopra
Daniel Sturridge
Michael Ballack
FA Cup

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