Willian’s displeasure with Antonio Conte had been clear ever since the post-FA Cup final victory celebrations, with rumors following that up by tying Willian’s Chelsea fate to the inverse of Conte’s.
That narrative has been, more or less, confirmed a few times already, but never quite as explicitly as in the interview given after Chelsea’s season-opening win 3-0 win at Huddersfield.
“Would I be here if Conte stayed? No chance. No.”
“I’m here. I’m here because I want to play for Chelsea. I will only leave if Chelsea want me to go.”
Considering the offers from Barcelona and/or Manchester United that were supposedly on the table this summer, it would appear that Chelsea definitely did not want Willian to go. And with Maurizio Sarri in place, Willian was happy to stay as well.
So now it’s all just fun and games, right?
“I think [I am having fun under Sarri]. We have a lot of players with quality up front, players like Eden Hazard and Pedro. Players like that want to play football. That’s why Sarri talked about ‘fun’ football because he wants to build from the back. This is what we will try to do this season.”
“This is what we do in Brazil and are trying to do here, playing with skill and movement and the manager told us to do that.”
“Jogo bonito” is certainly a great ideal to strive for, but as long as football is the game, winning will be the aim. It says so in the song!
Fortunately, Sarri-ball got off to a fun enough start on Saturday.
“We wanted to start like that. I think we played very well, we had control of the game, we had possession. We always tried to be in control. We played a great game at Huddersfield. We are just in the beginning. We know we have to improve.”
“Jorginho has played very well, he has a lot of quality and helps our play build up from the back. I think we played very well. Now we have to continue like that because next week we have a great game to play against Arsenal and we want to win again.”
Comparisons between Sarri and Conte will be inevitable, in terms of style, tactics, and results, and Sarri will have a chance to lay down a significant marker against the Gunners this weekend. Conte somehow managed to not get very good results against Arsenal at all (1 win, 4 losses in 8 games), and that simply will not do.
“Now we have a different profile of football, a different way to play football. The manager tells us to play, to enjoy ourselves on the pitch - with responsibility. Now I think we have a different style to play that’s why we can create problems for Arsenal.”
-Willian; Source: Goal
Make it so.