Kurt Zouma explains decision to leave Chelsea
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Kurt Zouma explains decision to leave Chelsea

Kurt Zouma says he has no ill feelings toward Thomas Tuchel and that he was looking forward to a new challenge in the summer after a rocky seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho purchased the France international in the summer of 2014, but he has struggled to establish himself in the heart of Chelsea's defense under a series of managers.

His career was stalled due to a catastrophic knee injury, and he spent time on loan at Stoke, Saint-Etienne, and Everton in an attempt to resurrect his career.

Under Frank Lampard, Zouma had made tremendous improvement, but once Lampard was fired in January, the 26-year-old struggled to win Thomas Tuchel's trust and was left out of the team that won the Champions League at the end of the season.

Zouma joined Chelsea's London rivals, West Ham, in a £29 million signing after a summer of feverish speculation, and has swiftly established himself as a key component of David Moyes' upwardly mobile team.

Explaining his decision to move from west to east London, Zouma told the Evening Standard: ‘I wanted something different. A challenge. We won a title last year with Chelsea and I wasn’t in the starting XI at the end. I wanted to be somewhere where I could compete for that, playing week in, week out.

‘Things happen. It is destiny. A new manager came in and he made choices and everything was working well for us. I wasn’t in the starting XI as often as I would expect to be. This is the manager’s choice and he made them right, obviously. As a player, I have to accept it. This is in the past.

‘I spoke to the manager of West Ham and he convinced me to come and join this beautiful team. I spoke to the manager and it wasn’t very long, but what he said to me was his views for me and it was very clear.

‘You know when you have that conversation with the manager it gives you confidence, it gives you a big boost and that is what I needed and that is why I came here.

‘What they did last year was just brilliant. They deserved where they finished, playing in the Europa League, that’s where I think West Ham should be playing every year and that’s the target now.

‘This is a club with big ambitions. We know that the Premier League is going to be difficult, there are many, many teams that can compete for the Champions League and Europa League — obviously, West Ham are one of those teams.’

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