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Blues upbeat over midfield duo


Midfield duo Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel have provided Chelsea with a timely boost by proving their fitness ahead of the new season.

Ghana international Essien and Mikel from Nigeria both missed the World Cup with knee injuries picked up while playing for the Blues last season.

However, assistant first-team coach Ray Wilkins has revealed that both midfielders have taken a full part in the opening days of pre-season training.

Chelsea begin the defence of their Premier League crown at home to newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion on August 14.

"John Obi is slightly in advance of Michael Essien but they are both working very well indeed," Wilkins told the club's official website.

"They have been working double sessions for the last week and we will get them really firing before the season starts."

Meanwhile, Wilkins has stressed the important of managing workloads for those players involved in the World Cup finals in South Africa.

He added:"Normally after a World Cup you find those players who come back from it, it is about December when they seem to hit a wall.

"It is very important we manage them in the correct manner and we get them to a level where they won't be as fit as we want them to be, but as they creep into the new year their fitness will come back.

"The players we have got here now, we have to get them into the right fitness condition so that they are prepared to play, because we might not be able to use the guys coming back from the World Cup for the first couple of games.

"These young men have to be primed and ready to perform."

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Article title: Blues upbeat over midfield duo

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