Ashley Cole preparing for difficult pre-season

The England full-back expects the entire Blues squad will be put through their paces before the new campaign, and has relished a summer break following a gruelling 2012-13 season
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole says he is preparing for a difficult pre-season training programme under new boss Jose Mourinho.   

Cole and the rest of the Blues squad will spend two weeks in Asia before heading to America for the International Champions Cup, before the 2013-14 Premier League season kicks off in August.

The 32-year-old left-back has admitted that although the training will be difficult, he is looking forward to getting back to work and hopes to be in top condition for the start of the new campaign.

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"Pre-season is always difficult. I've spoken about it before, how hard it can be, when it's that bit hotter than at home," Cole told the club's official website.

"I've done a lot of pre-seasons now and they never get easier. Each year you forget what you put yourself through but you need to do it - there are no short cuts.

"When I started as a kid it was all running but these days there is pretty much always a ball involved, which makes it more interesting and you can work on your sharpness as well as building a base level of fitness after your holidays."

The Blues endured a gruelling season of 69 games last term, with extended runs in both domestic cups, the Europa League and participation in the Club World Cup, and Cole admits the players were in need of a long break.

"I think a lot of us needed the break after a tough season. It was the longest season the club had ever had, and we all played a lot of games," Cole added.

"In the end I think we can be proud of what we achieved though, with picking up a European trophy and making sure we qualified for the Champions League.

"With the right preparation this time around I am sure we will be able to do even better."