Ashley Cole contract gives Chelsea a lift before Swansea tie

CHELSEA were given a boost on the eve of tonight’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Swansea with the news that England left-back Ashley Cole has signed a one-year contract extension at the club.

Cole’s previous deal was set to expire at the end of the season and, at one stage, he was expected to leave Stamford Bridge.

However the 32-year-old, linked with Real Madrid and Paris St Germain recently, has agreed fresh terms at the team he joined from Arsenal in 2006.

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Cole said on the club’s website: “I am pleased I will be starting my eighth season at Chelsea.

“I wanted to stay at Chelsea because we are always fighting and challenging for trophies. That desire and the will to want to win things have not gone.”

News of the deal being agreed emerged on Saturday, and confirmation that Cole has now signed up provides a boost ahead of the clash at Swansea, where Chelsea must overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit.

Despite needing to beat Swansea by at least three goals to advance, manager Rafael Benitez is unlikely to partner Fernando Torres and £7 million signing Demba Ba up front. He said: “It’s not easy for us to play both at the same time given the quality of the players playing behind. It’s an option for 15 minutes, and we can do it if necessary.”

Swansea, on the brink of a first appearance at a major cup final, will include goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, who has started in all previous rounds. Centre-half Chico Flores is fit and available after missing Saturday’s win over Stoke with a knee injury.