Jose Mourinho said today that Ashley Cole still has a future at Chelsea but added pointedly that it could be the case that the England international had a better option to join his former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry at the New York Red Bulls.
Cole, 33, has started two league games for Chelsea since the turn of the year and was an unused substitute in the win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Monday. The Chelsea left-back is out of contract in the summer and has hinted at his frustrations at being second choice, behind Cesar Azpilicueta.
Cole has been linked with a move to New York when his contract expires. Asked about that, Mourinho said: “I have to ask Thierry Henry. You are speaking about Thierry Henry, so speak with Thierry Henry. Maybe Thierry is doing with Red Bulls the same as David [Beckham] is doing in Miami. Maybe he's buying Red Bulls. Yes, he [Cole] has [got a future at Chelsea], but maybe Thierry has a better proposal.”
Mourinho has Fernando Torres nearing a return to fitness, although he will not be risked in the game tomorrow at home to Newcastle United. The Chelsea manager stuck to his line on Monday night when he described his team as the “little horse” in the title race and not favourites to finish ahead of Arsenal and second-placed City.
Mourinho said: “I'm not saying we're not going to win. I'm saying we're not candidates. We're outsiders. We're playing in our own league, to try and improve, against ourselves. To try and get the best result against our opponents. We're not a squad like City's, where players are in the best moment of their careers, an age of stability between 24, 25, 26 and their 30s, all of them working together for quite a long time. A manager who arrived and the team was ready for him.
“Arsenal are the biggest example of stability, of a manager working with players year after year, working with these guys since they were really young players: Aaron Ramsey, Bacary Sagna, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere. All working with the manager for a long time. We are different. We are beginning. On the first day of the next pre-season, I will say, ‘Yes we are there, and we accept that people consider Chelsea as candidates’. Today, no.
“We are there because we're doing very well, or because Man City or Arsenal are not doing as well as they should with the condition they have. We don't put ourselves at the same level as them. Do we dream about winning the Premier League? Of course. If not, we wouldn't play. Do we want to be there and win the next game against Newcastle? Of course. But we have not the same responsibilities, that's for sure.”
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