TONY Mowbray has received high praise from out-going midfielder Joe Cole with the former England star labelling the Sky Blues boss as one of the best British managers he has worked with.
Cole ended his seven-month spell with the Sky Blues last week after confirming his departure to America this summer where he has signed for North American Soccer League side Tampa Bay Rowdies in Florida.
The 34-year-old made a surprise move to the Ricoh Arena to get match fit and under the management of Mowbray he was able to score two goals in 22 appearances as the Sky Blues narrowly missed out on the League One play-offs.
But Cole is urging fans to back Mowbray and his coaching team again next term and he is confident this time next year his former club will be knocking on the Championship door.
“I’ve been really impressed with everything that the gaffer does at the club and I think he’s the right man to take it forward,” Cole told the Observer.
“Tony Mowbray has done a great job and it’s important the club back him and give him perhaps the right amount of money to spend and the next step now is a top six finish.
“He was the main reason I came and I was proved right. He was very good to me and let me manage my body and keep myself fit which I knew I could. I knew I could play games given the right training schedule and he was bright enough to let me.
“He’s got that top flight experience and as far as British managers I’ve worked for he’s right up there with best.
“Tactically he’s very good. I think the reason clubs want to send their players here on loan is because of the style of play that we try to play.
“In this league the temptation is to do whatever everyone else does and lump it forward, play second balls and try to be solid, but Mowbray is developing players and you can see that with James Maddison.”
Cole insists he owes the Sky Blues everything for re-igniting his passion for football and has put the League One club top of the list when he returns home from America later this year.
The former West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder is planning on returning to England during the American mid-season break and he hinted that the Sky Blues chapter in his career could be far from over.
“Who’s to say that that’s the end of the story? I’m coming back from America for three-four months, I’ve spoken to the gaffer and although it’s a long way off, a lot can happen between now and then but I’m comfortable at Coventry.
“The club has taken me in with open arms, the fans, the manager and the players so who’s to say the story ends here. The way they’ve taken to me the club will always be in my heart now and who knows what’s round the corner.
“I can’t thank the manager enough for having faith in me and keeping me fit. I knew if I was in the right environment, given the right training schedule and given the right manager I could play games.
“The manager made the right call and I’d love to work with him again in the future. When I come back for those three-four months Coventry will be right at the top of my list.”
Given Cole’s illustrious CV, which includes three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cup medals and ten goals in over 50 appearances for England, it was no surprise to see him become an instant hit with Sky Blues supporters.
And after narrowly missing out on the play-offs this time around, Cole wants to deliver some long overdue success to the club’s long-suffering supporters.
“The punters have been great with me right from the start,” Cole added. “You could sense that the fans have been starved of success.
“But the fans have finally got a team that they can be proud of this season which is something to be positive about.
“Every fan will say that they deserve a bit of success but these fans, my God, they’ve been waiting a long time for even a top six finish.
“The away support was unbelievable. I enjoyed every game I played for Coventry but some the away games when the fans got behind you, you could feel that it is a big club – a one club city.
“They do need success but I do feel this season was a real push forward from the seasons before.
“I’d like to say thank you to the club and it’s fans for helping me regain my love of football. “I’m sure we’ll come across each other again because I’d like to be part of bringing success back to this club.”