'The player has to impress me, not the crowd'

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, launched an astonishing attack on Joe Cole last night, accusing the midfielder of having "two faces" and of not being "good enough" once he had scored the winning goal against Liverpool.

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, launched an astonishing attack on Joe Cole last night, accusing the midfielder of having "two faces" and of not being "good enough" once he had scored the winning goal against Liverpool.

"When he scored the goal the game finished for him," Mourinho said, when asked to comment on Cole's performance. It was not the reaction his audience expected. "After that I needed 11 players for my defensive organisation. I had just 10. He has a lot to learn."

Mourinho said he had confronted Cole - presumably directly before the player had picked up his man-of-the-match award. "I was very critical in the dug-out," Mourinho explained, "but at the same time I can also be very warm with what he did. He gave a fantastic impact by his spirit to play, to win and to create things, to try and score a goal and get into the attacking position. But, for me, his game had two faces. The beautiful - and the other one I did not like. The good side is to keep, the other one has to change."

Mourinho added: "Joe Cole? Joe Cole scores a goal. And after that he was not good enough for me."

The coach said he was unimpressed by some of Cole's showier trickery and his inability to defend and play for the team. "The player needs to make an impact with me, not with the crowd," Mourinho said. Can he improve? "He can but he has to improve when the team needs him."

There was a vivid illustration of this five minutes from the end when Cole failed to track back as Liverpool attacked. Mourinho was apoplectic on the touchline and, afterwards, contrasted Cole's apparent insouciance with the actions of Paulo Ferreira. "One minute he was a winger," he said of the full-back, "then he made a 50-yard run to stop an attack. Concede the corner." The inference was that it was exactly what Cole should have done also.

Mourinho, however, said there was an excuse. "It's normal for a player like this," he said, perhaps mindful that Cole is still just 23. The player had appeared to have found a starting role under Mourinho but has not figured in the previous two matches following the return to fitness of Damien Duff who was praised again yesterday by the manager. Cole was introduced as a first-half substitute because of Mourinho's limited resources in attack, with injuries to three players.

"He was very important," Mourinho said of Cole's attacking play. "He gave good dynamic, played really well in terms of the attacking dynamic." This was capped by his goal - displaying fine technique to steer in Frank Lampard's free-kick. Mourinho did acknowledge the value of Cole's strikes though. "He has scored two goals for us in the Premiership," Mourinho said. "Three points at Birmingham, three points today."

Cole was watched here by Sven Goran Eriksson and was included in the England squad which was announced last night. With Wayne Bridge injured, he may offer a solution to England's problem on the left-side of midfield. However, Eriksson has his own reservations about Cole and has expressed them in the past - namely after fixtures against Italy and Croatia when he criticised his distribution.

Last night Cole reacted with commendable grace after a game - and a post-match savaging he will never forget. "The boss has no axe to grind against me," he said. "He just wants to make me a better player. I will sit down and talk to him about it and listen to whatever he has to say. He is a fantastic manager." And also a ruthless one.

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