Tue, Jan 03, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Mourinho comes down on Joe Cole

AP , LONDON

His team could go 14 points clear atop the English Premier League today, but Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho isn't entirely happy. He has told midfielder Joe Cole to take a four-day break for showing off on the field.

"I told him after the game that one more match like that and he is out," Mourinho said after Chelsea beat Birmingham City 2-0 Saturday to keep its 11-point advantage over second-place Manchester United.

"It is not a joke. I am serious. One more match for himself and not for the team, and he is out. He was playing for himself and not for us. I have given him four days off."

Cole, who scored in Wednesday's 1-0 victory at Manchester City, would have missed Monday's visit to West Ham anyway because he is suspended. But he won't even be involved in training.

With the England midfielder out of the game against his former club, Ireland winger Damien Duff will come into the team. Mourinho, who likes to rotate his strikers, likely will reshuffle his lineup by starting Didier Drogba instead of Hernan Crespo, even though the Argentina star scored against Birmingham and hit the crossbar.

West Ham, which comes off two 2-0 losses, isn't in the sort of form to worry Chelsea. However, the Hammers will have defenders Danny Gabbidon and Tomas Repka back from injury to face the Blues at Upton Park.

Another victory for Chelsea would be a psychological blow for Mourinho's rivals. United isn't in action until Tuesday, when it has a tough game at Arsenal.

That means a victory for the Gunners, who are 22 points behind Chelsea in sixth place and virtually out of contention, would strengthen Chelsea's hold on the title.

Although United looked impressive in a 4-1 victory over Bolton on Saturday, it will need a repeat of last season's 4-2 victory at Arsenal to give Mourinho any fears that his team could get caught.

Third-place Liverpool has two games in hand on Chelsea but is 15 points behind despite winning 10 games in a row. After Saturday's 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool visits Bolton.

Tottenham stayed fourth with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle and is not in action until Wednesday when manager Martin Jol's team visits eighth-place Manchester City.

Stephen McManus scored twice in the last three minutes on Sunday to complete Celtic's recovery from two goals down to win 3-2 at Scottish title rival Hearts.

Celtic's 16th win from 21 games moved it seven points clear of second-place Hearts at the top of the league.

Celtic trailed for most of the game at Tynecastle as Hearts looked set to cut the Hoops' lead to just one point. However, free kicks by Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura set up two late goals for defender McManus.

The Hoops have 51 points to Hearts' 44. Defending champion Rangers is back in fourth place, 17 points behind traditional rival Celtic.

Hearts had taken a two-goal lead in the first eight minutes.

Teenage forward Calum Elliott supplied a pass to Paul Hartley in the sixth minute and his cross was forced over the line by Lithuanian striker Edgaras Jankauskas. Steven Pressley then headed in a corner from Rudi Skacel.

Celtic's Poland goalkeeper, Artur Boruc, prevented Hearts from going into halftime three goals ahead when he blocked a powerful 16m volley from Skacel.

Celtic began the comeback 10 minutes into the second half when substitute Stephen Pearson turned home a leftwing cross from Shaun Maloney.

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