Former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has heaped praise on captain John Terry and urged the club not to put too much pressure on his likely successor Kurt Zouma.
Terry has played every Premier League minute for Chelsea, who lifted the trophy on Sunday following a final-day 3-1 win over Sunderland.
His performances at the heart of the defence had previously led to calls of a return to the international scene with England, which Terry has since dismissed.
The season has also been an impressive one for Zouma, with the former Saint-Etienne man making 26 appearances in all competitions and starting in Chelsea’s League Cup final win over Tottenham.
And Desailly told Goal: “The back four have been amazing, with John Terry playing like he’s 18 years old. We knew that in the leadership aspect he [John Terry] was going to be a great player, and you’ve seen it – he’s a real leader for his team.
“But as a player I was not expecting him to do so well for so long. He’s 34, he’s still performing well.
“Tactically he’s very clever, and in terms of anticipation. I played alongside [Lilian] Thuram who was much faster than him, and I played in front of [Franco] Baresi and [Alessandro] Costacurta, old players at the time.
“He can anticipate to block the opponent, not giving them space, winning the psychological battle – he’s very strong in that aspect.
“[Kurt] Zouma has a good capacity, but don’t put too much pressure on him. I was a world champion, but he has the ability to be a great player.
“The problem is he’s played in midfield and in defence and it’s a bit of a confusion for him. The potential is there but [Gary] Cahill is still the first choice for Mourinho.
“Gradually Zouma has to pop up in the defence and show his ability. He also has to be better technically – you can see that he mostly wants to play physically, to win all the battles, but you also need to play with your brain and position yourself in a better way to anticipate and win the ball.
“I saw him once with the national team when France played Brazil but I haven’t had the chance to talk to him. I don’t want to get close to him.
“Mourinho has put a lot of pressure on him, saying he is similar or even better than me. He needs to be calm and he will be the man of the situation in the future.”
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