Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is concerned that Belgium teammate Eden Hazard will take some time to regain his form.
Hazard made substitute appearances as Belgium qualified for next year’s World Cup with victories over Gibraltar and Greece last weekend, despite not having played for Chelsea this season.
The playmaker underwent ankle surgery this summer after fracturing it on international duty in June, and Courtois has warned fans not to expect too much, too soon.
“He is ready, he is doing well and is ready to play,” Courtois told Sky Sports.
“But we cannot forget he was injured for four months, he had surgery.
“You cannot expect – if he plays on Saturday (against Leicester), which is up to the manager – if he gets minutes you will see his quality, but maybe he is not at his top form like he was last season and you cannot forget that.
“You have to go little-by-little I think. We are excited to have him back and I was happy to have him on the pitch with me against Gibraltar and Greece.
“I hope we can see the best Eden Hazard very soon.”
Chelsea will have new signings Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta available this weekend, but manager Antonio Conte had wanted to further strengthen his squad during the transfer window.
Despite missing out on Ross Barkley, Fernando Llorente and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Courtois believes Chelsea can successfully defend their Premier League title.
“The market now is a bit crazy,” he added. “Really high prices for players who maybe don’t have that value. It makes it hard for teams to buy players for the right price.
“But after all I think Chelsea did a good job and I think we have a good squad to face the season.”