Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea's Kurt Zouma: Jose Mourinho is the 'best coach in the world'

Chelsea 2 - Newcastle 0

By Mark Bryans

Kurt Zouma has praised Chelsea captain John Terry and "the best coach in the world" Jose Mourinho for making him a better defender.

The 20-year-old made his full Premier League debut in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Newcastle - a win which put the Blues two points clear at the top of the table.

Zouma signed for Chelsea almost 12 months ago but remained on loan at former club St Etienne until the end of last season, linking up with his new Stamford Bridge team-mates ahead of the current campaign.

With Terry forming a strong central-defensive partnership with England international Gary Cahill, Zouma has had to be patient to make his mark on the league having been limited to mostly cup and Champions League appearances so far.

But the France Under-21 international looked right at home as he played alongside his skipper in the win over the Magpies and admits lining-up next to someone with the experience of Terry can only help his development.

"I'm very happy because it was my first start in the Premier League but I have to improve and we have to keep winning, but we won so for me that is the most important thing," he said.

"The manager said to me well done, but I have to continue because I have only played one game, but I have continue and if gives me a chance I have to continue to improve.

"I learn from John how to defend because it is not the same. He pushes me and says 'go, go go' - and I have to go. Yes he does the same in training every day. When we are on the pitch we have to work because when you train it is the same as when you play.

"He (Terry) helps me a lot, when the striker goes behind me, or when the striker drops back I have to follow, to keep depth, so helps me a lot. Gary Cahill is the same.

"I have learned from playing alongside John. It was the same when I was on the bench and I looked at John and Gary and I learned from both every time. So I am happy to play alongside both.

"I learned that the Premier League is not the same at the French League because there is more contact, tactically I learn a lot, tactically, technically and physically I learn from both of them."

Zouma, whose middle name is 'Happy', is certainly enjoying life with the league-leaders and praised Mourinho for also having an influence on his game.

"He helps me in every area. Defensively, tactically. For me he is the best coach in the world," Zouma said of the Portuguese. "I knew that we wanted to play well and to be top of the league."

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