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Zhirkov pleased to be progressing at Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov insists he is over his injury problems and beginning to find his form in the Premiership. Zhirkov has enjoyed a growing involvement in recent weeks, shaking off the knee problem that held him back after his July transfer from CSKA Moscow.

"After the transfer there was an injury so I am very happy now to be able to play," said Zhirkov.

"For about one month I was out of training and it was hard psychologically. It wasn't fun."

A debut against AC Milan in a Baltimore friendly in pre-season saw him score the winner in a 2-1 success, but that was the last Chelsea fans saw of him until September and a competitive debut against QPR in the Carling Cup.

Zhirkov admits it has been a frustrating time.

"This is always the case when you try to get back into the game as soon as possible," said Zhirkov.

"You think you are recovered fully but then you go on the pitch and still feel the pain, so you have to go off.

"That's what happened in this case, the intention was to get back into the game as soon as possible. The head is there to play but the legs do not always follow."

Zhirkov happily admits Chelsea fans are still to see his best form, either at the back or further forward.

"I haven't done anything special so far in the games so I cannot say I am very happy with that yet," he added.

"When I was playing in CSKA I was playing left-back, but probably going forward a lot more than here, it is very different here.

"It doesn't really matter to me, I am happy to play, and can comfortably play in either defence or midfield.

"Training is different from what it was in Russia. It is more hard work here but I am getting used to it in England,' he smiled.

"Matches too are very different, both in the way the game is played and the way it is followed. The level of football in England is absolutely fantastic, and that is the real difference. There are players from all over the world that can end up in England.

"It is not every day that you receive an offer from a club like Chelsea. Even to train with Chelsea is better and more rewarding than to play against some other teams in Russia."

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