‘After Just Eight Days Of Training It Is Impossible To Be Fit’

Carlo Ancelloti’s Chelsea slumped 2-1 to their third straight defeat in their pre-season friendly against Hamburg last night.

Frank Lampard opened the scoring, assisted by Michael Essien in the first half. All looked positive as Didier Drogba returned to play the second half after recovering from a hernia operation.

Hamburg were to destroy what could have been a comfortable night for Chelsea fans as Mladen Petric equalised in the 72nd minute.

Heung-Min Son grabbed the winner just before full time to give the home side victory.

With the Charity Shield fixture all but days away, Ancelloti has expressed his concern for the fitness of some of the Chelsea squad:

“Some players are in good condition but others need more time.

“The 10 players that only came back to us on 26th July need to have another two weeks of work. After just eight days of training it is impossible to be fit.”

Michael Essien has no doubt been the big plus in Chelsea’s pre-season campaign, bagging a goal against Crystal Palace in his first game back from injury. The Ghanian could once again prove him self to be the quintessential talisman as he helps the Chelsea team push to retain their Premier League title.

Frank Lampard has shown a return to league form in the friendly matches as he leaves his international form, which can only be described as typically English, back in South Africa. Different could be said for captain John Terry.

Though looking the better team for large spells of the game, sloppy defending and lapses in concentration have ultimately cost Chelsea in their build up matches.

“We are in a moment where we are making some mistakes and usually this team is more in focus.

“We are losing some concentration. In the past, the defence gives us a lot of confidence so I think we will get our concentration back.”

There will always be sceptical views regarding pre-season friendlies. The common notion is: ‘Friendlies are just friendlies!’ And so they are. The chance for the manager to experiment with formation and line-ups; a section of the year devoted to increasing fitness levels; and finally, the establishment of the first team and tactics that are to be implemented in the first game of the season.

The Chelsea boss claims there is little to worry about. Maybe with the transfer of Ramires waiting in the wings, Ancelloti expects his side to come alive. Strolling into Wembley stadium against Manchester United with a three game losing streak and defensive errors on the brain could prove a costly start.

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