Kurt Zouma
Zouma is full of praise for 'incredibly intelligent' MourinhoGetty

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma insists Jose Mourinho is a very different manager behind closed doors. The defending Premier League champions have endured their worst Premier League start in 34 years, losing four of their eight league games so far this season.

The club's worrying slump reached new depths last Saturday (3 October) when they were dismantled by Southampton at home, with Mourinho urging the club to sack him if they feel that is the right decision in a seven-minute post-match rant. The Chelsea board have given the under-fire manager their full-backing however and Zouma has also come out to praise his boss, insisting he rarely gets things wrong in his pre-match preparations.

Speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien (as translated by ESPN), Zouma explained Mourinho is not the sort of manager to let rip at his players once he has them back in the dressing room. "That's when he is on the sidelines but he never tears strips off us," Zouma said. "It wouldn't be any use – we are already rock bottom after a defeat. And then he is incredibly intelligent – he knows everything. I have never seen him get an opposing team wrong. I don't know how he does it.

"Every goal we concede, he will have shown it to us before on video. Then he will say to us: 'I warned you.' He leaves nothing to chance – it is really the best. But sometimes in football, there are times when everything goes wrong."

Zouma, who has previously said the presence of the Portuguese coach at Stamford Bridge was integral to his move to the Premier League side, has featured seven times for the club during their rotten start of the season. The club have already conceded 17 goals this term, having only let 32 past them during the entire 2014-15 season, and the former Saint-Etienne defender admits the slump has hit the club hard.

"After defeats, there is a strange atmosphere in the dressing room," Zouma continued. There is complete silence – no one opens their mouth. Mourinho has taught us to hate defeat. We are steeped in that culture so it hard for us."