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Saturday 19 August 2017

Zouma flattered by comparison with hero Desailly

Kurt Zouma was labelled "our new Marcel Desailly" by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho after the League Cup final win but is playing down comparisons with the World Cup winner.

With Nemanja Matic suspended, Mourinho selected defender Zouma in midfield for his 17th Chelsea appearance and the 20-year-old Frenchman did not look out of place in the 2-0 Wembley defeat of Tottenham.

That brought further comparisons to his compatriot Desailly, who played 222 times for Chelsea, and was comfortable in both defence and midfield.

"That is a lovely thing, what the boss said," Zouma said.

"But it is too early to say that because Marcel Desailly is a legend of Chelsea.

"I have only played about 10 games and I am 20 years old. I loved to watch him play. He was an amazing performer and important for us.

"I have to keep working hard. I have to improve every day.

"I have never met Marcel Desailly but one day I hope I will see him."

Zouma signed for Chelsea from St Etienne for a reported £12million fee in January 2014, but spent the remainder of that season on loan with the Ligue 1 club before joining up with the Blues first team last summer.

The centre-back, who scored on his debut in the League Cup against Bolton in September, was happy to play in midfield and do a job for the team.

"When I signed for Chelsea I knew that we had to play in some big games, some finals," Zouma added.

"But I never dreamed that I would be playing in the middle in midfield.

"The manager told me two days before the game that I was going to play there.

"That was very exciting because then I knew I would be playing in a final at Wembley."

Zouma trained in the position "a little bit, not too much".

"It was enough for me to play there," he added.

"I am a centre-back but if the manager said to me that I have to play centre-back, left-back, striker or keeper I would play there because I want to help the team."

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