Jose Mourinho wants Ashley Cole to remain at Stamford Bridge next season – but accepts the defender may not be prepared to remain as a back-up player.
The England left-back has had to adjust to a sudden and ruthless loss of status at Chelsea. Where once he was untouchable, he is now waiting frustratedly in the wings – and in a World Cup year to boot.
Cole, 33, is out of contract in the summer, but although Mourinho would love him to stay, he accepts it will be down to how the player feels about his position.
“That's another story that I cannot control,” Mourinho said.
“I like the player, I trust the player. I want him to stay, but whether he's happy with that so we don't have a problem, that's another part of the story that doesn't depend on us.
“He is only second now because [cesar] Azpilicueta is playing fantastic. It's not Ashley Cole that is not playing well.
“Every time Ashley Cole plays, he plays well. When Branislav Ivanovic was injured, and Ashley played against Liverpool and Southampton, he played very well."