Denis Zakaria joined Chelsea during the summer transfer deadline day on loan from Juventus but had to wait three months before making his debut for Chelsea.
The Danish international made his debut against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and showed Chelsea manager Graham Potter what he is made of by scoring on his debut against the Croatian Champions. He made his Premier League debut for Chelsea on Tuesday, 27 December against Bournemouth at Stamford, a game the blues won by 2 goals and kept a clean sheet as well.
Graham Potter has hailed Zakaria’s performance for Chelsea so far and has also taken the opportunity given to show the qualities he has.
What is Graham Potter’s verdict on Denis Zakaria?
The Chelsea manager outlined at a press conference: “Whenever Denis has played, he’s not let us down. He played in the Champions League against Zagreb and scored, so he’s shown his quality. I’ve said before, he has had to be patient because we have some good options in the midfield.
“It has to be remembered we didn’t lose for the first few games so it was hard for him to get that opportunity. But he has remained professional, worked really hard and it’s why he got his reward [against Bournemouth] with a decent performance and a contribution to a win.”
On the Chelsea Premier League game against Nottingham Forest at City Ground, Graham Potter has insisted that there are no easy games in the Premier League despite the poor form of Nottingham Forest.
He added: “You always have to be wary in the Premier League. You can’t say it’s the greatest league in the world and then think there are easy games. There aren’t. Forest got a fantastic result against Liverpool before the break and I have huge respect for Steve Cooper and the job he has done there. He is a fantastic coach.
“So they’ll be ready and the atmosphere will be hostile I’m sure. It’s their first year back in the Premier League for a long, long time and every game – especially Chelsea coming to town – is a big game for them. So they’ll be motivated, have quality, and be fighting for the points. So we have to be ready.”
The blues had not been lucky this season in terms of the fitness of their players. Chelsea had missed key players like N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, and Mateo Kovacic
On Chelsea’s injury situation, he said: “There is a little bit of bad luck but I don’t think you should throw it to something you can’t do anything about. There is an element of luck, of course, but then there are other things that happen. But that is for us to try to learn from and get better with. Again, it’s been a challenging season and I don’t know how pre-season was because I wasn’t here. I can’t comment on that.
“Sometimes you have these situations; Liverpool had one earlier in the season. So it can happen, especially when you are playing so many games in a short space of time. But without knowing the full extent of pre-season, it’s hard for me to comment.”