Zhirkov determined to deliver
Stopper keen to live up to full potential
Last Updated: October 19, 2010 8:07am
Zhirkov: Ready to deliver
Defender Yury Zhirkov has vowed to prove his worth at Chelsea following an injury-plagued start to his career at Stamford Bridge.
"I'm getting fitter game by game, and I'll try to show more. My fitness is getting better and I'm feeling more confident."
Yury Zhirkov Quotes of the week
The Russian international is set to run out against Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League at the Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday evening as Group F's two unbeaten teams go head-to-head.
Zhirkov departed CSKA Moscow for London last year but sustained a knee problem that has limited him to just 27 outings for the Blues.
However, the 27-year-old left-back has pledged to demonstrate his true value, admitting he has not reached his top form so far.
"I've not lived up to my full potential because I haven't played too many games in the first team," said Zhirkov.
"But I'll try to show more. I'm getting fitter game by game, and I'll try to show more. My fitness is getting better and I'm feeling more confident."
Zhirkov has been linked with a move back to Russia with Spartak in the summer but the stopper was quick to stamp on that talk.
"It is just rumours and speculation," he added. "I don't want to leave Chelsea and if the manager doesn't want to sell me, I will stay."
Blues manager Carlo Ancelotti, who is struggling with injuries in his side ahead of Tuesday's clash, insists Zhirkov is a key member of his squad.
"He had a very good season last year," said Ancelotti.
"He was fit to play our more important games towards the end of the season, when he didn't have an injury he played important games.
"He played when Ashley Cole had an injury, and played very important games. For me Yuri is a very important player, he didn't start a lot of games but you can't say he is not important.
"He can play a lot of positions on the pitch, he played very well as a left-back and as a midfielder. He is a very important player for us and I never thought he could leave Chelsea."