Cole return provides England headache for Capello

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The Independent Football

Joe Cole was a man on a World Cup mission after his first Premier League start since January went like clockwork.

Cole gave a superb performance after returning from knee ligament damage as Chelsea demolished Blackburn 5-0 at Stamford Bridge, in front of Franco Baldini, assistant to England manager Fabio Capello.

The former West Ham man, who was handed a central midfield berth, said: "I am very determined to get back to playing for Chelsea and England and today was a good step for me.

"Over the years I have learned to be patient with myself and the chances come, especially at a club like this.

"Everyone looks fresh. We look sharp. I just try and do my best and enjoy my football. I genuinely love playing the game. It was brilliant just to be out there again. I enjoyed playing in a more central role - it was the first time in my career."

Two goals from Frank Lampard, an own goal by Gael Givet plus strikes from Michael Essien and Didier Drogba - his eighth of the season - completed the demolition.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was angry after England winger Aaron Lennon insisted on coming off against Stoke and leaving Spurs to play the last 12 minutes with just 10 men.

Redknapp had already made three substitutions and Stoke cashed in, scoring their winner in a 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane when substitute Glenn Whelan scored four minutes from time.

Redknapp said: "I was hoping Aaron would stay on. I said to him 'We've only got 10 men' but he said 'no, my ankle's too sore'."

Lennon faces a battle to be fit for England's friendly against Brazil on November 14.

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov refused to use the fact that Wolves had reduced the length and width of their pitch this season as an excuse for the 1-1 draw at Molineux.

Some believed it helped nullify the threat of Villa wide men Ashley Young and James Milner but Petrov said: "We just need to adapt and make no excuses.

"When the big teams like Manchester United and Liverpool come here to Molineux, they won't have that excuse. They will try to adapt and win the game and that's what we tried to do.

"We were under pressure from the start. We couldn't keep the ball."

Gabriel Agbonlahor put Villa ahead and Wolves grabbed the equaliser when referee Peter Walton pointed to the spot in the closing stages after Steve Sidwell had fouled Michael Kightly. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake struck the equaliser.

Sunderland skipper Lorik Cana insists his side must concentrate on becoming more consistent if they are to prosper in the Premier League.

After drawing against Manchester United and beating Liverpool, Sunderland went down 2-1 to Birmingham at St Andrew's and Cana said: "It's very disappointing, but it's not the first time this season after some good results.

"We can't keep our level of play and we must turn that around. Everybody knows the potential and quality of our team, but it's a hard league and you have to be 100% concentrated all the time."

Strikes from Liam Ridgewell and James McFadden secured the points for Birmingham, who were playing their first home game since Carson Yeung completed his takeover of the club.

Scott Dann's late own goal prompted a frantic finish but Birmingham were worthy winners.

Hull defender Andy Dawson called for fans to fully back the team after the Tigers laboured to a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Portsmouth at the KC Stadium.

The result was greeted with boos and left both sides in the bottom three.

Dawson said: "The atmosphere around the stadium is maybe getting to everyone. We know we have got to play better and create more chances. Everyone's got to get behind us. That's the only way we're going to do it. There were a few boos and you can feel the frustration sometimes."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez hailed the contribution of Hugo Rodallega after the Colombian striker scored twice in the 3-1 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor.

It was Burnley's first home defeat of the season and they gifted Wigan their first goal when goalkeeper Brian Jensen collapsed in a heap with a twisted ankle to allow Rodallega to run the ball into an empty net.

Martinez said of Rodallega, who has scored eight times in 15 games: "His asset is his finishing. He scored on the opening day against Aston Villa and has been full of confidence ever since."

Steven Fletcher had put Burnley in front after four minutes but Wigan wrapped up a deserved win through Emmerson Boyce.

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