Carlton Cole has hit out Chelsea supporters who criticised him for celebrating West Ham’s 3-2 victory in last night’s thrilling London derby.
The Premier League clash appeared to be heading for a draw after Willian completed his brace with a sublime 72nd-minute free-kick to cancel out goals from Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio either side of the break.
But second-half substitute Andriy Yarmolenko finished off a slick counter-attacking move to secure three crucial points for the Hammers in their desperate fight for top-flight survival.
Former England striker Cole, who represented both Chelsea and West Ham during his playing days, was part of Sky Sports’ alternative commentary team for Wednesday night’s match at the London Stadium.
And many Chelsea fans took issue with the way Cole reacted to Yarmolenko’s 89th-minute winner given he began his career at Stamford Bridge and was on the club’s books for six years.
Responding to the criticism he received on social media, Cole tweeted: ‘How any Chelsea supporter can criticise me for celebrating West Ham scoring and winning is beyond me.
‘Let’s get this right! I’m supposed to not celebrate because you gave me a chance in my youth days?
‘Of course I’m grateful for that but I spent my best and longest years at the Hammers who gave me a chance too and continue to give me support in my coaching development.
‘Plus we needed the points to stay in the league. Circumstances have made it this way.
Cole insists Chelsea ‘will always hold a special place in his heart’ and urged fans to show him more ‘respect and loyalty’ in the future.
‘It’s not that I don’t want Chelsea to do well, but I’d celebrate like that against any team we grinded a win from especially in these times,’ he added.
‘Don’t be bitter. Chelsea will always hold a special place in my heart.
‘Show me loyalty and respect and I’ll show it back. Loyalty and respect is earned not demanded.’
West Ham boss David Moyes felt his side deserved their first win in what has been a ‘really difficult’ return since the season’s restart.
‘We’ve had a really difficult start since the restart,’ Moyes told BBC Sport.
‘We’ve been prepared and we’ve been ready for it but the results didn’t show that or prove that.
‘But I thought tonight we did, I thought tonight we got better – we’ve got better in all the games, to be fair – and I still said to them there’s much more improvement.
I didn’t think we played well enough in the first half but in the second half we got better even though, I’ve got to say, it was really tough against Chelsea.’
Moyes added: ‘Great credit to the players, they kept at it and I thought we got our rewards.
‘I didn’t think we deserved to go in down at half-time and to get the equaliser was good and I thought it was deserved as well.’
On Yarmolenko’s winning goal, Moyes said: ‘We had to counter but Chelsea had pinned us back and made it really hard for us.
‘But we were always waiting on a moment or a chance and we hoped our luck would change a bit.
‘I thought we worked harder tonight and probably deserved that change of luck.’
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