The previous time Ashley Cole was able to speak as a Chelsea goalscorer he was part of a team sitting top of the league, and the left-back was in the same position again following his late winner against Stoke City.

In 2010 Cole’s goal against Wigan helped secure first place in the final league table for that season. There are no less than 33 league matches left this campaign but a fourth win out of five added to the draw at QPR means another week leading the pack at this early stage. Cole gives some importance to that state of play.

‘It is always nice to score but it was more about the win and staying top of the league,’ said the player who now has seven Chelsea goals to his name.

‘Mentally that is good for us. Last season we didn’t have too good a time in the Premier League, it has taken two years for us to be top of the league again and hopefully we can stay there, but it is a long way to go.’

Saturday’s game was very much as expected according to Cole, who was involved in Chelsea’s earlier attacks as well as those in the closing minutes.

‘It was a battle. It is always physical and Stoke always make it hard for us to play our football. They defend deep with 10 men so it is hard to break them down, but for the goal it was a great move down the right and I took a chance and got in the box.

‘I had a few shots in the first half when I had maybe too much time to think and they went over but this one came so quick that I didn’t have much time to think. The first thing that came into my brain was to try to dink it over the keeper because I thought he would go down.’

In the end it was one of the most experienced players in the squad who made the breakthrough but with fresh players such as Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses, who was involved in the move for the goal, catching the eye in the past few weeks, Cole added his name to the list of their admirers.

‘The players that we have added to the squad are only going to help us. They are young and enthusiastic and willing to learn off the older players, and they have great skill and great belief in their own ability which can hopefully help us through the season.’

There is more from Ashley Cole available now via Chelsea TV’s online access.

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