CHELSEA manager Carlo Ancelotti last night defended Ashley Cole, insisting the full-back does not deserve to lose his job, or even his place in the team, for accidentally shooting a work experience student with an air rifle.
Ancelotti confirmed Cole would face Manchester United in tonight’s crucial Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge, despite an episode that took place last week at the team’s Cobham training ground and has prompted investigations by Surrey Police.
The Blues coach said Cole had apologised to his victim and would be sanctioned but refused to elaborate on the punishment and dismissed suggestions that ill-discipline was rife at the club or that mega-rich players enjoyed too much power.
“He will play tomorrow. I think he is in the right frame of mind. Obviously we are not happy at what happened but I’ve spoken with him he’s very disappointed. He said sorry, made a mistake and it was an accident. We are taking proper action but tomorrow he will play and I think he will be focused,” said Ancelotti.
Asked if Cole could have been sacked, he added: “No there is no way for this. He is our player has always had very good behaviour. He made a mistake, he knows this, now we have to move on. Cobham is not out of control. There is discipline. If players step over the line we’ll take a decision.
“They [players] don’t have so much power. They have personality and character but not power. The mistake was that the gun was here in Cobham. We didn’t know. He made a mistake. Who hasn’t make mistake in his life? Maybe God.”
Disciplinary concerns were also on United’s agenda yesterday, although Wayne Rooney controversially escaped censure from the Football Association for appearing to elbow Wigan’s James McCarthy on Saturday.
Referee Mark Clattenburg, who gave a foul, told the FA he was satisfied with his decision, leaving the governing body no leeway to act, and Ancelotti (inset) insists he is content with the findings.
“I think he should be free to play,” said the Italian. “If this is the rules and the FA decide this I am happy.”