Chelsea deny Cole 'taunts' reports

Chelsea on Wednesday denied reports alleging defender Ashley Cole had taunted Manchester City players and staff following the Blues victory over the Premier League leaders earlier this week.

Cole was alleged to have triggered a confrontation in the players' tunnel following Chelsea's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge after mocking City manager Roberto Mancini and his players.

The Daily Mirror reported that the England fullback had poked fun at City's failure to qualify for the Champions League knockout phase by shouting "Thursday night, Channel Five" -- a reference to the channel's Thursday night broadcast of the Europa League, in which City will now participate.

However Chelsea took the unusual step of formally denying the reports in a statement released on Wednesday.

"Contrary to reports, Ashley Cole did not say anything to the opposition in the tunnel after Monday's game," the statement read.

"Ashley has huge respect for the players and staff at Manchester City, many of whom he knows personally and calls friends."

The Mirror report said a potential flashpoint was only defused after stewards stepped in to push City's players towards their dressing room.

"It was a bit of antagonism, certainly not serious," one witness was quoted by the paper as saying. "But Cole was trying to wind up City after what the Chelsea players felt was a really big win for them."

Chelsea's win lifted them to third in the table, seven points adrift of City and five behind Manchester United.

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