Chelsea midfielder Deco insists his decision to stay at the Premier League club despite enduring the worst season of his life will pay off this year.

Deco struggled to adapt to English football last season after joining from Barcelona as a series of injuries stopped the Portugal playmaker from finding his rhythm.

He could have cut his losses in the close-season as several clubs, including Inter Milan, were keen to sign him, but he opted to stay and is already showing signs of a significant improvement.

Playing behind just behind the strikers in Tuesday's match at Sunderland, Deco scored a superb goal and was Chelsea's most influential performer.

"Last season was the worst season of my career because I never had so many injuries before," Deco said.

"This season things can be different. I know I am well and fit and I can play. I want to help the team and I think (new manager) Carlo Ancelotti trusts me.

"I have a contract and they respect me here - the fans, the people in the club and the new coach.

"I had other offers but I never said that I want to go. I just said the last season was difficult and I wouldn't like this one to be like the last one.

"But I talked with the club and the coach and the first time he said he wanted to keep me in the squad, I said okay, I want to stay."

Meanwhile, Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov has rejected fears he will need surgery to cure a problem with his right knee.

Zhirkov, who joined Chelsea in the close-season from CSKA Moscow, has missed the start of the season because of a knee injury aggravated on the club's pre-season tour of America.

But the Russian, 26, hopes to return to training in the next few days and denied reportsthat he would need an operation to cure his problem.

"I don't know who spread these rumours, but they don't correspond to reality," Zhirkov said.

"My condition has improved and the doctors say that in two or three days I will be able to return to training, although not fully. I'll work on an individual programme.

"I was feeling pain and noticeably limping when running, but now that's behind me. I just need to tone up the leg."