Emotional return for Chelsea's Joe Cole
Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has described the emotion of returning from injury in last night's Carling Cup third-round victory over QPR at Stamford Bridge.
Cole was named captain for the 1-0 win and he set up Salomon Kalou's winner just after the break, making it a successful comeback after eight months out with a serious knee problem.
The 27-year-old, an unused substitute against Porto in the Champions League last week, said: "It was an emotional night for me. I can't thank the fans enough. There was a little lump in my throat just warming up against Porto the other night.
"You think people have forgotten you so to come out there and hear them singing my name, it's just brilliant.
"Chelsea are my club. It's the first time I've been captain. That was a nice touch. To captain Chelsea is just unbelievable. I was a ballboy here.
"I know it was the Carling Cup but tonight was one of the biggest games of my career."
Cole was part of an experienced team selected by Carlo Ancelotti. Sam Hutchinson and Fabio Borini were the only two youngsters chosen, with the rest first-team or fringe players.
QPR held Chelsea until the break, then Cole slid Kalou through seven minutes after the restart.
Cole added: "It's been a long wait and is just a stepping stone. It's great to be back but the hard work is still ongoing.
"It's beautiful to be back out there playing football again. It's what I love doing.
"I'm just delighted to be back here. Everyone at the club has been blinding. I want to be part of a successful season."
Chelsea are likely to resist fielding a team of youngsters in the fourth round.
"If you see the size of the squad we have, a lot don't play week-in week-out so it's vital for them to get airtime," said assistant boss Ray Wilkins.
"It's entirely up to the young men to push themselves forward and the two that played have been doing so in the reserves and training.
"We want to win everything we enter. Every side that takes to the field in a Chelsea shirt wants to win the game and the tournament they are playing in. If we can blood a few on the way, all well and good."
QPR boss Jim Magilton was pleased with his side's application.
"We have to use it as a springboard," said Magilton.
"We have a chance of promotion, like 14 other clubs.
"We had a lack of belief in the final third but I was immensely proud of the overall performance."
Magilton, who started with two strikers, added: "I'm not naive but that is the way I thought we could get after Chelsea. We were encouraged against Cardiff in our last game and some players may not get back to Stamford Bridge so I couldn't deny them that by resting them."
Magilton refused to answer questions on owner Flavio Briatore, whose position has been questioned following his role in Formula One's "crashgate" scandal.
"I've never met him," Magilton joked.
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will only consider 'astronomical offer' from Atletico Madrid for Santi Cazorla
Chelsea transfer news: Diego Costa wants a reunion with £25m Manchester United target Arda Turan... because he loves his kebabs
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture