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 By John Duerden

Carlton Cole on team is same as playing with 10 men - Persib official

Michael Essien and Carlton Cole at Persib in Indonesia
Carlton Cole, right, joined Indonesian club Persib Bandung after Michael Essien in March.

A leading Persib Bandung club official says an Indonesia Liga 1 team containing former England striker Carlton Cole is like playing with 10 men.

The ex-West Ham United star joined the West Javan club in March, and has yet to score after five games of the season, and one preseason match.

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Cole, 33, made his first start in Sunday's 1-0 win over Persipura, and was withdrawn at half-time as the Blues moved to the top of the table.

According to Indosport, Umuh Muchtar, team manager of Persib, has not been impressed by Cole. He has played just 105 minutes of the season so far, considerably less than his former Chelsea teammate Michael Essien.

"Fans have been asking why Cole has not been playing so we played him to let the public see," Umuh was reported as saying. "It is like playing with 10 men against eleven."

While Cole drew another blank against Persipura, the tall forward has often looked frustrated at the lack of service he has received from his Persib teammates.

Persib coach Djadjang Nurdjaman said last week that both Cole and Essien were struggling to adapt to the climate of Indonesia, and had trouble sleeping.

Essien scored his second goal of the season on Sunday to reinforce his importance, with Cole's contribution to the team to be monitored over the coming weeks, according to Umuh.

After five games of the season, Persib have 11 points and are in first place, having played a game more than PSM Makassar in second.

On Saturday, the Blues travel to Semen Padang, who signed ex-Tottenham and Ivory Coast midfielder Didier Zokora last month.

Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.

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