Chelsea not ready for season – Drogba

Last season’s Double winners were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United
in the Community Shield at Wembley, a fourth consecutive loss in
their warm-up schedule. Carlo Ancelotti insists there is no major
cause for concern as Chelsea build towards the visit of
newly-promoted West Brom to Stamford Bridge this weekend. However,
with so many of the senior squad having been away on extended
breaks after the World Cup and the likes of Michael Essien and John
Obi Mikel coming back from long-term injuries, Drogba admits there
is still some hard work ahead. “The game against United showed we
are not ready. We have to step up our game if we want to start the
season well like we did last year,” he said. “A lot of players have
only trained for 10 days. It is too short to be fit and ready for
the big competition. “We have to improve our game, even if we are
not fit, and hope that in two to three weeks time we will be
better. “I hope it does not take that long but when you come back
after a short holiday it takes a minimum of two to three weeks to
have good preparation and be fit physically. I know I’m not ready
yet.” Drogba added: “Against United, we played without intensity,
but we are working very hard in training trying to get fit early.
“It is not going to be easy but we need more time.” Chelsea are
understood to be close to completing the £22million signing of
Benfica’s Brazil midfielder Ramires, but so far Yossi Benayoun is
the only senior player the Blues have added to their squad this
summer. Drogba, though, insists there is already enough strength in
depth for the Blues to mount another sustained assault on both
domestic and European honours next season. “The squad is the same
as last year and the quality is still there,” said the striker, who
netted 29 goals last season. “If there are more players coming then
that will be good for us because it will improve the level of the
team, but if not then we know that we will have the quality to go
very far in all competitions.” Goalkeeper Petr Cech is expected to
be fit from his calf injury in time to face West Brom, but
Ancelotti could yet consider bringing in more back-up, with Stoke’s
Asmir Begovic said to be on the Italian’s radar. Chelsea officials,
meanwhile, maintain there was no deliberate snub by full-back
Ashley Cole towards England manager Fabio Capello after the defeat
to United at Wembley. The club stress Cole simply stumbled as he
climbed the steps towards the royal box and did not see the
Italian. Along with Chelsea captain John Terry, Cole was present
for the initial group meeting with Capello and the rest of the
England squad ahead of the midweek friendly against Hungary before
heading off for warm-down sessions at Arsenal’s Hertfordshire
training base.