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Kurt Zouma on recovering mentally, facing Jose Mourinho, and getting back into the Champions League next season

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There's a big interview with big Kurt Zouma in the Daily Mirror and if you're as big of a fan of big Mr. Happy, you'll enjoy it bigly.  Greatly, even.

While he talks about how "strange" it will be to face Mourinho at Manchester United next season ("I hope he does well there ... but of course I hope he loses against Chelsea"), and about how happy he is to have John Terry back, and about the support he's receiving from everyone for his injury rehab, and about rooting for France at the Euros, the quotes that interest us the most are the ones that reveal his determination and ambition to return even stronger than before.

"I am very happy at Chelsea. I want to show everyone that I will be back even stronger after my injury."

[...]

"I'm feeling good. I don't feel any pain. I am working hard to be back as soon as possible. I don't know when I'll be back. It depends on the knee."

"Everything is good so far, four months after the operation. I have to take care of the knee and not rush. I will take my time."

While he's vowing to remain patient, he also seems raring to go to set right all the wrongs of last season.

"Last season was not good for us. No-one is happy about that. The new manager wants to do much better and he will bring in new players. That is not a problem. When you are at a big club like Chelsea there is always big competition for places. I was happy with myself and I did well when I was playing. Now I have to be ready for next season."

[...]

"Of course Chelsea must be much better next time. Last year we did bad. Tenth in the league is not good for Chelsea. The year before we won the title and I maybe we thought that everything would be easy. But it wasn't. Now we are focused on having a great season and we will do for sure."

"Of course I am confident we will be back challenging for the title. Chelsea has a big team. We have to bounce back and be ready to fight."

"But not being in Europe will not help us. We are used to playing in the Champions League. The target now is to be back in that competition as soon as we can. It's a very important competition for the club."

-Kurt Zouma; source: Mirror

Zouma's renewed sense of hope is meshing quite well with the good vibes emanating from a wonderful Italy performance against Belgium on Monday, a masterclass of tactics from Chelsea's incoming manager, Antonio Conte.  Next season's Premier League will be even tougher than this season's, but given a few key signings and extra motivation from the rest of the squad to show that last season was just a fluke, it's a good time to be hopeful.