Skip to main content

Conte wants Chelsea to breathe football – Zouma

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma praised Antonio Conte and said the club's head coach "thinks, eats and sleeps football".

Conte's men are runaway Premier League leaders, holding a nine-point advantage atop the table through 24 games.

Zouma has made just three appearances in all competitions this season as he continues his comeback from a serious knee injury.

The France international lauded Conte's impact at Stamford Bridge and said the Italian lived for the game.

"He's a really nice guy. He thinks, eats and sleeps football. He talks football, everything is football with him. He's so passionate and he wants to give that to the players," Zouma told the Mirror.

"Tactically we watch a lot of videos and we learn. Details are important to him. He says, 'you can't be there, you need to be there because if the ball goes over you there you're dead, so just anticipate'.

"You learn a lot with him, a lot. The Italian style is very good for defenders."

Zouma, 22, has already won a Premier League title and EFL Cup at Chelsea, both coming in 2014-15.

He played 23 league games last season before rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in February.

Chelsea finished the campaign in 10th spot, with Jose Mourinho sacked before Christmas, but Zouma would prefer to look ahead.

"My first year at Chelsea we won the Capital One Cup and then the Premier League. I was dreaming," he said.

"But managers go. It's part of football. I don't feel guilty. Mourinho's gone, let's think about the future.

"It was a bad season, now we are doing well again. Conte loves what he does. He wants to give that special feeling to us. We need to love football like he does, to breathe football. That's what he wants."