Essien looking forward

Ghanaian keen to put injury troubles behind him

Michael Essien: Hoping for a full pre-season with Chelsea this year

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Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is hoping to complete a full pre-season with the Blues to ensure he is in the best possible shape for the new campaign.

The Ghana international missed the first half of last season after picking up a cruciate ligament injury in the first week of training last July.

It struck a particularly cruel blow given Essien had previously spent lengthy stints on the sidelines with two serious knee injuries.

"It is hard during the season if you miss pre-season. And so it is good to start and hopefully finish the whole pre-season."

Michael Essien

Quotes of the week

The 29-year-old returned in January but struggled to win back a regular place in the first team, playing a bit-part in Chelsea's victorious UEFA Champions League campaign.

Despite last season's disappointment, Essien is feeling positive as he prepares to travel with Roberto Di Matteo's squad to the United States.

The midfielder feels getting a full pre-season under his belt will put him in good stead for when the new campaign gets underway.

"It is hard during the season if you miss pre-season," he told Chelsea's official website.

"And so it is good to start and hopefully finish the whole pre-season. So I am looking forward to that and we will see what happens.

"So far so good and I am looking forward to the season."

Departures

Essien admits he will miss his good friends and fellow Africans Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou this season after the players departed Stamford Bridge for Shanghai Shenhua and Lille respectively.

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But the midfielder believes winning the Champions League marked the perfect goodbye for the duo.

He added: "I will miss them but that is the game, it is part of our job and we have to deal with it. I wish them the very best of luck and we still keep in touch.

"It was a very good way for them to say goodbye to the club, playing the Champions League Final because we have been looking for that trophy for a long time."