Roberto Di Matteo is "very optimistic" Ashley Cole will sign a new contract at Chelsea before the the transfer window opens after the left-back's first goal for 28 months kept them top of the Barclays Premier League.
Blues boss Di Matteo has no fears the man he hailed as a Stamford Bridge "legend" would reach January in a position to be able to pen a pre-contract agreement with a rival club.
"I'm very optimistic that it will be dealt with before that," Di Matteo said after watching Cole net a vital late winner in the European champions' 1-0 victory over Stoke.
Di Matteo confirmed he had recommended to the Chelsea board that they keep Cole "as long as they can" before waxing lyrical about the 31-year-old, who controversially joined the club from Arsenal six years ago.
"He has become a legend - he is now Chelsea through and through," said Di Matteo.
"But I wouldn't say it's just happened recently. He's been here many years and has contributed a lot to this club."
Hailing Cole as an ideal example for Chelsea's new players to follow, he added: "He's a fantastic pro, which I'm not sure whether you know.
"Somebody that's the first one out in training, one of the first into the building with JT [John Terry], trains every day like a professional, reliable, somebody that you could go to war with.
"And he's a very quiet guy as well. He's very private at his own stuff. He's one of the best left-backs in the world."
It is said that Cole suffers from a persistent ankle problem that can limit his ability to train but Di Matteo said: "He's physically very good, very strong, has the ability to recover very quickly from game to game. Offers us a lot on that left hand side."
- Roberto Di Matteo
- Ashley Cole