Lampard in doubt for opener

2010-08-13 16:37

London - Vice-captain Frank Lampard may miss Premier League champions Chelsea's opening game of the season against promoted West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti, though, said Brazil midfielder Ramires was on the brink of completing his move from Benfica.

"We have to check Lampard in the morning because he has a problem with his ankle," Ancelotti told reporters on Friday. "Then we will decide if he is ready or not."

The midfielder was hurt in England's 2-1 friendly win over Hungary on Wednesday.

Ancelotti added that long-term injury victims, goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Alex, would be available to play against West Brom who are managed by former Stamford Bridge favourite Roberto Di Matteo.

Turning to 23-year-old Ramires, who will cost the Premier League and FA Cup double winners a fee of 17 million pounds ($26.50 million), the Chelsea manager described him as a "fantastic player".

"He (Ramires) is doing medical tests," said Ancelotti after confirming the midfielder had received his work permit. "I hope everything will be OK as soon as possible. "He's very young and will be the future of the Brazilian national team and, I hope, the future of Chelsea."

Chelsea have had a poor run of pre-season results, including Sunday's 3-1 Community Shield defeat by Manchester United at Wembley, but Ancelotti seemed unconcerned.

"We are ready to defend the title," he said. "We have fantastic motivation to try and win again.

"We know the other teams will work harder to beat us but we are ready to fight, we are ready if it's possible to improve ... our quality, our personality, our courage.

"We need to have more power than last year if we want to win. The other teams are improving quickly and we have to be ready," added Ancelotti.