Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma has expressed his delighted after securing his first Premier League start, ahead of Gary Cahill, during the 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday 10 January.
The 20-year-old defender joined the Blues during the January transfer window last season but remained on loan at Saint-Etienne for the rest of the campaign.
Following David Luiz's departure to Paris Saint-Germain last summer, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho gave Zouma the chance to be the back-up for Cahill and John Terry at the west London club.
The France youth international has since responded with impressive performances in the Chelsea back-line even though his opportunities have been limited.
Having already started some games in the Champions League and in the cup competitions, Mourinho rewarded him with a place in a Premier League starting XI for the first time, in the game against the Magpies.
"I'm very happy because it was my first start in the Premier League, we kept a clean sheet and we won the game. We want to be champions and if we play badly or well the most important thing is the result," Zouma said to Chelsea's official website.
Zouma is still cautious about securing a regular starting spot and he addressed the differences between playing alongside Terry and Cahill.
"I have learned with them how to defend in England. When I look at both Gary Cahill and John Terry, I learn from both so I'm happy to play alongside both," he said.
"John Terry helps me a lot when the striker goes behind me or when the striker backs drops back and I have to follow. Gary Cahill is the same. Tactically, technically and physically I have learned a lot."
After the game, Mourinho's assistant coach Steve Holland praised the defender's performance but Zouma believes he still has room for improvement, as he is still adapting to the pace of the Premier League.
"The Premier League is not the same as the league in France, it's completely different," Zouma said.
"It's much faster and you have to be ready for contact too. The Premier League is the best championship in the world for me. I was very happy to play 90 minutes, I think I had a good game but I have to continue improving and working."