Didier Drogba‘s head injury is almost certain to mean he will miss Chelsea‘s visit to Sunderland on Saturday in the Premier League and the opening Champions League group match against Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
André Villas-Boas, the head coach, is hopeful the 33-year-old can make his return on Sunday week for the visit to Manchester United in the league.
Drogba was knocked unconscious during Chelsea’s last game, the 3-1 win over Norwich City on 27 August.
Villas-Boas said: “Didier Drogba still might be in between [being unfit and fully fit]. He has to be authorised medically to make his full return to training. He has been doing light sessions, of course, with our physios. Let’s push it to the limit to try for him to be available for Man United.
“I wouldn’t say he would be available for Leverkusen. He is probably out for Sunderland and Bayer Leverkusen.
“The first days [following the injury] were tremendous pain. He had his family supporting him and complete support from the medical staff 24/7. We’ve given support since. We have to make sure he’s fully recovered before he comes back to training because that is the requirement neurologically. Has to be right [mentally] as well.”
Villas-Boas also spoke about why he signed Raul Meireles on transfer deadline day from Liverpool for £12m and allowed Yossi Benayoun to be loaned to Arsenal.
He said: “We wanted to fill a space in midfield and bring one more in. Yossi could play in the middle, in channels or behind the striker. We felt that towards what we wanted to achieve in terms of playing style Raul will fit. It was an extremely good idea for us and [we are] happy to have him.”
Villas-Boas also appeared to rule out a move for Luka Modric in the January window after Chelsea’s attempt to sign the Tottenham midfielder during the summer failed. He said: “I don’t think we will be back in January. When the window opens, it opens, but I don’t want to speculate.”
Petr Cech and David Luiz are in the squad for Sunderland after recovering from injury and Daniel Sturridge is available after completing a three-match ban.