Kurt Zouma returned from his injury after spending 11 months on the sidelines in the win over Peterborough and has praised Conte for helping him with his comeback.
The 22-year-old frenchman has been sidelined since he picked up an ACL injury against United on 7 February 2016. He has been training and travelling with the first team since Conte’s arrival.
His comeback was met with applause by the Chelsea faithfuls , and Zouma admitted he was delighted to return, with the club’s form helping him get back to full fitness.
“It was not tough [to miss out] because I was out injured,” Zouma said in a post match interview at Stamford Bridge. “I was just proud and happy because last season was so difficult for us and to see the boys doing so well was very good for me, because I learned even quicker than when we lost [last season].
“I was doing my strength and rehabilitation and I was watching the lads [while I was doing it] and they were unbeaten for a few months, with a new manager, everything has been going well. So it is easier, when everything is going well, I learned a lot with the boys in there, so it [time] went quickly, really quickly.
“When you win, you are always learning. I was out for a long time so I just needed to learn and be ready for today and all the team did well so let’s keep going. It was a proud moment, an amazing moment and that I played 90 minutes.
“I am really happy because I was out for a long time and now I am out at the Bridge with the lads, so I am really happy.”
Zouma admits that having the support of his new manager was a boost as he recovered from his injury.
“Yes, he talked to me,” Zouma added. “He said be careful with the recovery and recover really well. When you are back we want you to play, like I did today, so I am really happy. When you know you have the trust from your manager, it is always good.
“He explained to me his tactic because I didn’t know it before. Before we played with four and now we play with five, with three central defenders. So we know the manager likes to do a lot of tactics. So we watch a lot of videos so he put me in there to watch, to understand, that’s what he does.
“I need to be patient, everybody wants to play but you need to be patient when the team is doing well. You need to understand your body. I understand a lot my about my body. The medical staff were very good with me. They did a very good job and I thank them a lot. They were all behind me and I think they prepared me very very well.”