Luiz Felipe Scolari believes Chelsea striker Didier Drogba will not return to the peak of his powers until mid-November.
Drogba is set to make only his third start of the season in Wednesday night's Champions League clash with CFR Cluj after suffering a knee injury, and Scolari has called on fans to be patient with him.
He said: "Didier has not played for two months so it is difficult. He is not 100% ready. We need more time for Didier but he will grow with every game he plays and eventually reach the same levels as before."
He added: "Tonight we will see Didier better than in the last game. He is doing his job very well but he needs more games and more time but I think he will need eight or 10 more games."
Chelsea - described as a "football machine" by Cluj striker Yssouf Kone - are aiming to dish out a stiff Champions League reality check to the Romanian double-winners.
Cluj produced a shock 2-1 victory away at Roma on their Champions League debut a fortnight ago and Wednesday promises to be the biggest night in the club's 101-year history.
But unbeaten Chelsea are homing in on a ninth straight away victory that would take them a giant step closer to qualifying for the second round of the Champions League.
Scolari said: "We have made a very good start to the season. Cluj are more confident than before because they beat Roma and they have good players - but we know that if we are to reach the second round we need to win.
"When you win games you have more confidence, you are more strong. If we win we have one foot in the second round.
"I think it will need 10 points to qualify and if we win we will have six points. We would just need four more from four games. We want to reach the final and to win the final so it is a very good situation for us."
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