Olivier Giroud required five stitches while making his full debut for Chelsea but his focus is on justifying his departure from Arsenal by securing regular first-team football.
The France striker, 31, impressed during Monday’s 3-0 defeat of West Brom at Stamford Bridge, where he created the first of Eden Hazard’s two goals before being substituted in the second half.
He had been struggling with a calf injury having already had five stitches for a cut when taking studs to the head, but his manager Antonio Conte expects him to again be fit for Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round fixture with Hull.
Antonio Conte makes his first change on 60 mins, with Olivier Giroud making way for Alvaro Morata. 1-0. #CHEWBA pic.twitter.com/cPhx9mr4DM
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2018
Giroud left Arsenal for £18million as the Gunners signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, having already lost his first-team place to compatriot Alexandre Lacazette.
“It’s been a while since I played regularly and that’s why I needed to move,” said Giroud, who was replaced by Chelsea’s summer signing Alvaro Morata. “I needed a new challenge and Chelsea was the perfect club for me.
“It’s the Premier League, a club which has won more titles in the past ten years than any other. It’s a massive club and I am very proud to be here and to carry on my career.
“I feel very good. It’s been maybe two months since I started a game so I felt good. I worked hard in training to be physically ready and to do what the coach asked me to do tactically. There is still room for improvement but I take a lot of pleasure from (my performance) and I’m happy to set the first goal for Eden.
“I was very excited to make my debut at Stamford Bridge and I’m very happy for the team. Obviously we needed the three points to get the confidence for the following games and we’ve done the job.
“It’s true you could see the team was not playing with the full freedom at times but it’s normal after two disappointing results (successive defeats by Watford and Bournemouth).
“It’s a new challenge and it’s been special for me to leave Arsenal. I had five amazing years there but now it’s a new chapter of my career and I am focused 100 per cent on the Blues to reach our targets and I’m very happy to be here.
“I said at half-time when they put stitches in my head that I wanted to carry on, but the calf was very painful and I couldn’t play the whole game.”
The striker’s link play demonstrated he already has a promising understanding with Hazard, and he said: “It’s simple with Hazard because he smells the game, he smells the football.
“I am back in the FA Cup and the Champions League and we are going to take the games step-by-step. We have three big games to come against Barcelona in the Champions League and then Manchester United and Manchester City away.”
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