Cole will face United despite gun controversy

COBHAM, United Kingdom, Feb 28, 2011 (AFP) - Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insists Ashley Cole is ready to face Manchester United on Tuesday despite the controversy surrounding his use of an air rifle at the club's training ground.

Cole has been fined by Chelsea after accidently shooting a student working with the sports science department earlier this month.

The England left-back was reportedly messing around with the rifle and didn't realise it was loaded with lead pellets when it went off and hit the student in the leg, causing heavy bleeding.

Cole has been accused of letting the club down with unprofessional behaviour, but Ancelotti is convinced he is in the right frame of mind to start against United at Stamford Bridge.

"He will play tomorrow (Tuesday), yes. Obviously we are not happy with what happened but I have spoken with him," Ancelotti told reporters on Monday.

"He was really disappointed and said sorry. He made a mistake. Obviously he stepped over the line about rules.

"It was an accident and we have taken the proper action. He will play and is focused to play a good game."

Ancelotti admitted he was angry with Cole for breaking club rules but there was no chance of the former Arsenal star being kicked out for his actions.

"There was never any chance of this. He is our player. He made a mistake and now we have to move on," Ancelotti said.

"He said sorry to everyone. First he said sorry to the guy who was involved, second he said sorry to the team-mates and third sorry to the club.

"This doesn't change our thoughts about him. He is a fantastic player, maybe he made a mistake but he remains a good player and in my opinion a very good professional.

"I don't want to say (what the punishment was) because it is an internal matter.

"It was an accident. The mistake was the gun was here on Cobham. We didn't know the gun was here. He made a mistake, but who didn't make a mistake in his life."

Cole's behaviour has inevitably led to suggestions that Ancelotti has little control over his players.

Lurid revelations about Cole's private life, which led to the collapse of his marriage to popstar Cheryl Cole, dogged the defender last season, while Chelsea also had to deal with reports about John Terry's affair with the partner of former team-mate Wayne Bridge.

Yet Ancelotti is adamant club discipline is strong under his management.

"Cobham (the club's training base) is not out of control. There is discipline. The players have to respect this, if some players step over the line we have to take some action," Ancelotti said.

"From outside nobody can say we are out of control because we have internal discipline.

"You can judge the players on the pitch. They are showing fair play, respect for the referees and the fans. This is what we have to judge not other things.

"The players have personality and character but they have no power."

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