Zhirkov dismisses knee surgery fears

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Injured Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov has set his sights on making his Barclays Premier League debut after shrugging off fears he would need surgery to cure a knee problem.

Zhirkov, who joined Chelsea in the summer for £18million from CSKA Moscow, has missed the start of the Barclays League campaign because of a knee injury aggravated on the club's pre-season tour of America.

"I don't know who spread these rumours, but they don't correspond to reality," said Zhirkov.

The Russia winger, 26, hopes to return to training in the next few days and is looking to be in contention for a return to competitive action when Chelsea face Burnley on August 29. Reports back home suggested he would need an operation to alleviate the problem with his right knee but Zhirkov quickly put the record straight.

"My condition has improved and the doctors say that in two or three days I will be able to return to training, although not fully. I'll work on an individual programme," he added.

"I was feeling pain and noticeably limping when running, but now that's behind me. I just need to tone up the leg."

Zhirkov's injury worsened after his appearance for Chelsea against AC Milan on the US tour.

Chelsea have started superbly without Zhirkov - beating Hull and Sunderland to give new coach Carlo Ancelotti an unbeaten start to his managerial career in England.

England midfielder Frank Lampard is delighted the Blues have notched back-to-back victories.

"It's a long way to go and it's just a good start," said Lampard. "Of course you want to get your noses in front early on and if we can get a good start and not have the mid-season we had last year then we'll have a great chance."

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