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.