On this day: Ex-Man United striker Andy Cole says he can score the goals to keep Portsmouth pushing for Europe
On this day in 2006, Andy Cole insisted he could score the goals to keep Pompey pushing for Europe.
The striker needed just five minutes to make his Fratton Park debut a goalscoring one.
Cole’s 186th Premiership goal in the 2-0 win over West Ham kept Pompey in the Champions League places ahead of a trip to Chelsea.
And 35-year-old Cole reckoned he still felt as fresh as a 21-year-old.
The £1m capture from Manchester City, who had scored more Premiership goals than anyone still playing at the time, struck in his instinctive fashion after coming off the bench.
The goal answered any doubts about Cole’s vitality after a lengthy layoff following knee surgery.
The former England striker said: ‘You may lose half-a-yard of pace with age, but you gain half-a-yard in your head.
‘I still feel I can score goals at the highest level. The thought that I can’t has never really entered my mind.
‘Just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you can’t score goals. If I get myself in the right position, I like to think I can score.
‘I was trying to get half a yard on a defender.
‘I did that, and it went in. It’s a great feeling scoring goals – especially after you’ve been out a while.
‘It doesn’t change for me. I just love scoring goals. I’ve enjoyed every single one of my goals – and I want to keep scoring more.
‘I’m 35, but I still feel 21 when I score. I don’t feel under pressure. I’m trying to enjoy it and get as many goals as I can. I’m here to take the club forward.’
Pompey would travel to Stamford Bridge just three points behind the champions – but 11 points clear of relegation zone.
Cole said: ‘The first job is to get 40 points. Then we’ll go from there. If we keep doing the things we’re doing we won’t get in a relegation fight.
‘We’re getting the points on the board early doors.’