Olivier Giroud said he will remember his bruising but successful first start for Chelsea, telling SFR Sport he needed stitches to close a head wound during his new club’s 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
After coming off the bench in last week’s 4-1 loss at Watford, Giroud was named in the starting XI for the game at Stamford Bridge and set up Eden Hazard’s opening goal.
But the France international, who left Arsenal to join Chelsea last month, needed five stitches in the back of his head courtesy of Jonny Evans’ challenge just before half-time and he was replaced by Alvaro Morata on the hour mark.
“It’s certain that I’ll remember that one,” Giroud said. “People were getting stuck in. It’s true that I was a little unfortunate when the defender landed on me with his studs. In fact, at half-time, they put in five stitches. I felt a little bit dazed at first, but it was fine after that.
“And as if that wasn’t enough, I took another one to the calf. That was more painful, because afterwards, when I came in at half-time, I was really struggling. I wanted to continue, but it can’t be helped.
“All the same, I’m happy to have helped the team win the game. There were some very good things and others will need to be worked on. In any case, I felt good and I’m happy to have won for this first match.”
Giroud’s arrival, which signalled Michy Batshuayi’s departure on a loan to Borussia Dortmund, has given Chelsea boss Antonio Conte the option of playing either he or Morata up front without having to tweak his tactics.
The 31-year-old explained he had been able to hit the ground running in west London after quickly settling into the squad.
“My integration has been very good,” Giroud said. “They have warmly welcomed me. There are quite a few French, and there are some French-speaking Belgians. I already knew a few of them. It all happened naturally. I’m very happy today.
“We have three big weeks coming up. We play at home against Hull City. Then there is Barcelona and both Manchesters. We’ll need energy, to be on form and gain confidence. It’s good. We’re really looking forward to those big games. We’re impatient.
“We want to keep going like this and have a good run to build up as much confidence as possible.”
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman