Zouma: Good things come with hard work

‘We enjoy playing football. We all love playing for Chelsea, but obviously physically it is difficult because there is so many games and travelling and hotels, but that’s the job. That’s what we’re here for, to play football, to enjoy it. So we don’t think too much about it, we just enjoy the games and that can be good for everyone, because there’s so many games and everyone can play.’

That travelling also means Zouma is away from home on his birthday for this trip to face Krasnodar, as he turns 26 today. However, he says age is just a number within this close knit and young Chelsea squad.

‘I see the young lads come in and naturally I try to speak to the younger lads, but in this group we are lucky because everyone understands each other and I think we don’t put the age ahead of everything. Everyone understands each other, everyone talks to each other, which is very great and that will bring us very far.’

And what would Zouma see as the ideal present for his 26th birthday in Russia?

‘Just a clean sheet and a win,’ he said, with his trademark wide grin. ‘That would be perfect for me, the best gift I could have!’