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Sunday 22 April 2018

Gradel enjoys Mourinho's praise

Bournemouth's Max Gradel believes he is good enough to play for Chelsea
Bournemouth's Max Gradel believes he is good enough to play for Chelsea

Bournemouth recruit Max Gradel is happy with Jose Mourinho's suggestion he is good enough to play for Chelsea.

And the Ivory Coast forward, a £7million signing from St Etienne, says it is easier to play for the Premier League champions than a side like the Cherries.

Gradel was used as an example by Mourinho to illustrate the talent in the Premier League and the competitive nature of the top flight, with the Blues boss saying the 27-year-old could play for him.

"Yes, I think I can play for Chelsea, of course," Gradel said at Bournemouth's media conference on Thursday ahead of Saturday's Premier League opener with Aston Villa at Dean Court.

"It's nice to know a big manager like Mourinho said something like this.

"If he says that, that means that it's true. He won't say anything that he doesn't mean.

"With the squad they have, it's easier to play in the Chelsea team. It's easier to play with great players."

Gradel, who returned to Bournemouth after a loan spell in 2007/08, is determined to prove his value and believes he could end up at Stamford Bridge in future if he does perform well.

"It's a positive pressure. You work hard to get to this level," he added.

"I have to be happy and enjoy it, because I know how far I've come. It's a big test for me to show people what I can do at this level.

"In England you go where you deserve to go. When you're good enough to go to Chelsea, you go to Chelsea.

"In England they give you opportunities. If I'm doing good and the club here are happy with what they gain, if everybody's happy, we move on."

Gradel had offers from CSKA Moscow in Russia, Lille in France and Bournemouth's fellow Premier League newcomers Watford, but opted for the south coast.

He added: "A lot of people don't understand my decision. They are probably thinking I should be playing for the top teams now.

"I agree with them, but for me it's important you go where you'll be happy. When you're happy in the club or the town, it's easier to give your best every game.

"Eddie Howe is a great person. I've known him for a long time and this club gave me the opportunity.

"I was at Leicester but I never played first-team. This club gave me the chance to play first-team football.

"This is where things started for me. I have something to give back to this club and my story with this club hasn't finished yet."

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