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Kurt Zouma admits Frank Lampard pressure is maintaining his Chelsea focus

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Kurt Zouma admits Frank Lampard pressure is maintaining his Chelsea focus


It speaks volumes about Kurt Zouma that despite winning two titles with Chelsea, he still feels he has to prove himself to Frank Lampard.

To anyone else’s eyes, Zouma looks like he has established himself as one of the pillars of Chelsea’s new-look mean defence.

The France centre-half has built on his best campaign for Chelsea last season to play in all six games of their current unbeaten run.

Yet he isn’t sitting back and putting his feet up because he feels under pressure to perform every time Lampard selects him.

“I’m very happy to have played in the last games because the manager has given me trust and I want to give it back,” he said.

Zouma (L) scored a bullet header for Chelsea in Saturday's win over Burnley
Zouma (L) scored a bullet header for Chelsea in Saturday’s win over Burnley

“Every minute I’m on the pitch, I want to prove something to him. It’s been a good run recently and the competition is here.

“I want to keep going because I feel good. Every time you are on the pitch you have to play great. I am trying to do my job.

“At the minute everything is going good.”

Lampard will love Zouma’s attitude and the Blues boss rejected Everton ’s determined efforts to re-sign him permanently in the summer of 2019 because he believed he could be key for him.

Lampard is being proved right and Zouma has helped Chelsea keep four successive clean sheets for the first time in four years.

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Frank Lampard’s team made waves during the summer by splashing over £250million to bring in the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva.

It has given them one of the Premier League’s most potent attacks – but behind them remains a defence that continues to leak goals, with 3-3 draws against West Brom and Southampton already behind them.

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Zouma was part of their squad back then in December 2016 when the Blues were heading to their last Premier League success in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge.

“I feel like I’ve been here for ages,” said Zouma. “I want to keep going and there’s still a lot of work to do.

“I’m pleased about the clean sheets. It’s more about the teamwork and everyone is working hard. Everyone is doing their job.”

Zouma, 26, is a survivor in a time of upheaval at Stamford Bridge and only Cesar Azpilicueta has been in the Blues first-team squad for longer.

He will clock up seven years at Chelsea in January 2014 and he has finally come of age.

The Blues defender gets up highest to head home from a corner
The Blues defender gets up highest to head home from a corner

Zouma is scoring goals as well as keeping them out and his powerful header for Chelsea’s second made him the Blues’ joint-top Premier League scorer with three.

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Timo Werner also has three after completing the scoring in this comfortable stroll for the Blues at Turf Moor after being set up by the classy Hakim Ziyech.

Ziyech opened the scoring with his second in two games for Chelsea and his first in the league.

Chelsea played with real intensity and their £250million jigsaw is slowly fitting together.

Zouma claims Lampard’s side is gelling and that there is great trust among the players.

“The thing is we just focus on ourselves,” he said. “Sometimes we do well and other times bad. Everyone trusts each other and the mood is great.

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Zouma is taking nothing for granted under Lampard at Chelsea
Zouma is taking nothing for granted under Lampard at Chelsea

“The mentality is solid and and the confidence is high.”

Lampard purred with delight about his team’s performance and in particular his midfield three of N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.

He loved the way No 8s Mount and Havertz switched effortlessly from defence into attack.

“I like the balance of the midfield,” said Lampard. “N’Golo Kante was fantastic behind Mason and Kai.

“There was a fluidity about it where they would drop out and get on the ball in deeper areas, but also be dangerous when they arrived high.

“There was a lot of energy as well as quality.”





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