Denis Zakaria joined Chelsea on the deadline day of the transfer window on loan from Juventus.
The Swiss international had to wait three months before making his debut for Chelsea. Zakaria had a debut to remember after scoring against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions, which proved to be the match-winning goal.
Graham Potter was impressed with the performance of Zakaria and insisted that he is happy the Swiss international showed everyone the qualities he possesses.
What did Graham Potter say about Denis Zakaria?
The 47-year-old said at a press conference after Chelsea 2-1 over Dinamo Zagreb: “Always to be himself and I thought he did that well. He showed his quality, won the ball back, helped with our attacking play, and obviously to score is fantastic.
“You can see the quality he has and we’ve seen it in training as well. He can strike a good ball so I think it was a nice goal for him and the team. It was an important goal for us so I’m happy he contributed to the team’s performance and for him to score was nice.”
Asked if he was surprised with how fresh and ready Denis Zakaria looked during the game, Potter said: “He’s been, as you can imagine, frustrated and disappointed when he doesn’t play.
“That’s the life of a player but he’s handled himself really well.
He’s kept himself fit, he’s trained really hard, and supported the team and his teammates in a really good way. When you do that, you give yourself a chance to perform when your opportunity comes. So credit to him. Everyone was so happy for him and it was a great story for the whole group I think.”
The 25-year-old was substituted in the 71st minute with an injury. Providing an update on the extent of the injury, Graham Potter added: “He just got a kick. Just the contact. He was fine. No problems with him.”
Meanwhile, Mason Mount admitted that Denis Zakaria deserved the Man of the Match award against Dinamo Zagreb.
Mason Mount was named the Man of the Match in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Mount said: “We changed the formation a little bit.
“It allowed me to drift and connect the midfield, and get forward as well. I felt good. It was a nice position for me.
“When I look at a game the negatives stick out in my head, and I gave the ball away too much. That’s how I am, that’s what I think about after the game, but I did some good bits as well, so I’ll take it.
“The lads have been battering me the last couple of games I’ve got man of the match as they don’t think I deserved it, but today I don’t think I deserve it!
“Denis Zakaria came in and was unbelievable. He deserves the man of the match more than me, and he scored as well!
“To step up after not playing, and starting the game, was brilliant. I’m very happy for him to get this opportunity and to do so well.”