Chelsea youngster Kurt Zouma is set to start in this evening’s League Cup clash with Championship promotion chasers Derby County.
Despite costing the club a whopping £12.5million in the summer, Zouma’s first-team opportunities have been limited by the consistency of English-pairing John Terry and Gary Cahill.
“It will be a very difficult game because they are very near the top of the Championship and they have been winning a lot of matches,” the French youth international said, quoted by the Daily Star.
“We will have to be strong like we were against Bolton and Shrewsbury. We want to keep winning.
“Personally I’m feeling good; I’ve been playing quite a few minutes so I’m very happy.
“The coach told me that I need to keep working hard and I do this. Whenever he gives me a chance I have to be ready.”
It’s been over 40 years since the two sides last met in the League Cup, but Derby boss Steve McClaren will still have the 2-0 FA Cup defeat on home soil to the Blues in January fresh in his memory.
“Chelsea are better than last season and they weren’t too bad then, were they? Jose knew there was something missing, he’s got it sorted in the summer,” said McClaren to the BBC.
“Football is all about recruitment and he’s done that very well. They’ve progressed. They are the complete team who can adapt to anything against any opponents. It’s going to be a great night under lights in front of a full house.”
Derby County haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last eight attempts.