Jose Mourinho has moved to quash any speculation that Ashley Cole’s recent absence from the Chelsea team is down to anything except the left-back being not fully fit.

Right-back Cesar Azpilicueta has been filling in for the England defender on the opposite flank to where he usually plays with reserve left-back Ryan Bertrand seemingly unfancied by Mourinho.

Cole has been short of full fitness and a niggling rib problem ruled him out of England’s defeat to Germany on Tuesday meaning he Spaniard is likely to start in the left-back spot again at West Ham on Saturday evening.

But the Portuguese insists it is purely fitness issues that is keeping the former Arsenal player out of the starting XI.

“Ashley is a top professional,” he said. “He just needs time to recover 100% and put himself at the top of his game and to fight to have his position.

“He’s not the kind of personality you need to leave on the bench to send him a message to him to make him realise that he has to give more. No way.