Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole criticised his own strikers, claims Brentford forward Clayton Donaldson
ASHLEY Cole grew frustrated and became vocally critical of the Chelsea forwards during Sunday’s humbling FA Cup draw at Griffin Park, according to Brentford striker Clayton Donaldson.
Chelsea were twice behind against Brentford before ultimately salvaging a 2-2 draw, with Donaldson taken aback at how the European champions found it so difficult to break down League One opposition.
“You couldn’t really see that they were European champions,” he said. “We set out to unsettle them. I think we did that and it showed. They didn’t really create that many chances which I am very surprised of, especially with the quality of players they have got.
“I was obviously closer to Ashley. He was always mumbling something, always mumbling stuff quietly but I could hear what he was saying. He was just getting frustrated. He was saying about the forward players not showing and ‘he needs to be there’.”
Fernando Torres was Chelsea’s main central striker and he did ultimately score the 8-rd minute equaliser. Ryan Bertrand was playing immediately in front of Cole on the left while Oscar and Marko Marin also struggled to assert themselves in the other main attacking positions.
“Throughout the game we only gave them really two big chances which they scored from which shows what happens at the top level,” said Donaldson. “I felt if we got our game plan right we would be able to contain them. We knew their strong point was their left side through Ashley Cole.
“I played out on the right and that was my job to try and stop him from overlapping and creating chances which I did really. You could see in the game, they were always trying to look for him.
“We contained them, went in the lead twice. You think you will be able to see it out but it wasn’t meant to be. Definitely disappointed to come in with a draw.”
With Chelsea fans again voicing their frustrations at Rafael Benitez during Sunday’s game, Donaldson hopes that Brentford can exploit that simmering negativity in the replay.
Asked if Sunday’s performance had given the team confidence ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge, he said: “Definitely, especially given their run of form at home recently hasn’t been the best. The pressure will be on them again.
“Obviously the fans are [showing] unrest with the manager. They don’t really like the manager so any little thing that goes wrong, they are always on their backs. I think that has played a part in their recent results so hopefully we can put that into our advantage.”
Gary Cahill, the Chelsea centre-back, admitted that Chelsea were “really sloppy” during Sunday’s first half and said that there had been some frank dressing-room exchanges at half-time.
“We could blame the pitch, and we couldn’t see anything on our half of the pitch in the sunshine, but we shouldn’t blame those things as we were really sloppy,” he said. “The gaffer said a few words at half-time and the lads between themselves. Everyone knew it was below par, everyone knew, and we had to do something about it in the second half.”
Cahill felt that Chelsea showed their fighting spirit to ultimately recover and said they were boosted by the return of John Terry, who was playing his first match since November following a knee injury.
“In the end we showed good character in horrible, difficult circumstances really,” he said. “We dug deep to take it back to Stamford Bridge. We needed to grind out a result, which in the end we did. It wasn’t a very enjoyable game to be honest.
“It’s not ideal to have another game. We haven’t got enough time to fit in our recovery work between games as we’re playing every three days.”
- Jeremy Wilson, Telegraph.co.uk