Jose Mourinho masterstroke creates new star at Chelsea

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Wayne Rooney, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Cesc Fabregas, Radamel Falcao and John Terry. Big names for big games. All players who you would expect to be at the forefront and the main attractions for a game between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Most of the talking points on Saturday evening were based around an admirable United performance and a piece of individual skill from the Player of The Year elect, Eden Hazard. However little was to be made of the tactical nouse from Jose Mourinho that saw French centre half Kurt Zouma step out of his comfort zone and into a defensive midfield role. 

The decision came as another masterstroke from Mourinho, who has used Zouma in the mould of a midfield destroyer before, limiting Christian Eriksen's creativity during Chelsea's Capital One Cup victory earlier this year.

However the player had to step it up again this weekend as the physical presence of Marouane Fellaini was a slightly different kettle of fish to that of the little Eriksen.

Nonetheless, Zouma showed he was worthy of playing further up the field.

The 20-year-old, who claims he has no regrets joining Chelsea from French club St.Etienne, has recently stated how he wants to win the Ballon D'or some day, a big ask for a centre back considering the previous defensive winner was none other than Fabio Cannavaro.

But the player's ambitions are testament to the drive Mourinho seems to get out of his players. 

Zouma got off to a mixed start at Chelsea, having joined in January 2014 and being immediately loaned back to St. Etienne.

But the player has come to bide his time, and although seen as a back up centre back, the French Under 21 International was keen to repay his manager's faith in him by putting in a bullish performance in defensive midfield.

Against Manchester United

Zouma had an impressive 90% pass accuracy rate from the showdown against Man United on Saturday, only behind Gary Cahill in the Chelsea side. However, it was his tireless work ethic and physicality which saw the player gain massive praise from Mourinho after helping to keep the influence of human velcro Marouane Fellaini to a minimum. 

The decision from Mourinho to play the stocky Zouma alongside fellow hard man Nemanja Matic as a protection against the back four came as a necessity as the Chelsea, who has used the least amount of players this season (22), has seen his squad stretch recently.

Matic has played almost every minute and the effects are surely starting to take their toll, therefore the decision to opt for the energetic and physical Zouma allowed the Serbian some breathing space in midfield.

Zouma however, can't feel too familiar in a midfield position, as the pragmatic Mourinho would be quick to quash any speculation that the player is to hold down a DM spot. Regardless, the appearance was another example of Mourinho's genius and a player with a lot of potential.

What next?

What we have learned from the weekend's action is that Zouma is a very disciplined defender, just that. The run out in midfield can either be defined as brilliant from Mourinho, desperate or both, but the only formality is that it is not going to be a regular occurrence.

The player who has been compared to fellow Frenchman and Chelsea legend Marcel Desailly must learn his trade at the back and stick to the game he knows if he plans to emulate the success of his idol.

And maybe that will be enough to win the coveted Ballon d'Or.

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Premier League
Kurt Zouma
Jose Mourinho
England Football

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