Following a marvelous return to Chelsea in which he cemented himself as one of the best center backs in the game thanks to Antonio Conte’s tactics and tutelage, David Luiz spent most of last season largely out of favor with the now former head coach. The official line said that it was due to injuries, including a recurrence and lengthy rehab of the Agüero-induced knee injury, that he was out of the frame for a good chunk of the year.
However, whenever he touches on the subject, David always seems to indicate that there is more to the story than just injuries — as he did in a recent interview with Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte.
“Difficult was when I left my home as a 14-year-old and had nothing to eat. Last year was another year of learning in my life, but one which through the experiences and life lessons I have was not that difficult to overcome.”
“Of course I love to play football. I would love to be in the Brazilian national team, and I would’ve loved to be part of the World Cup as well, but we know that we need to have wisdom and know how to act.”
“I kept on being a professional, training every day with the joy of being privileged to playing football. [...] I went through things much harder than that and yet here I am, still standing and surviving.”
David was probably one of several players whose relationship with Conte, for one reason or another, deteriorated beyond the point of repair last season. That was one of the factors, which certainly contributed to the head coach’s his sacking, with Maurizio Sarri taking over the hot seat at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri and Conte may share a nationality, but they are almost exact opposites in their coaching philosophy. Conte is seen as the more pragmatic, reactive and conservative type, not afraid of sitting deep and hitting teams on counters if the occasion asks for it. Sarri meanwhile is the proactive coach, with a set philosophy and will to impose said philosophy on proceedings, using possession, passing, and pressing as tools for both attack and defence.
Sarri’s first test of fire as Chelsea head coach was however a rather a scalding one, as champions Manchester City gave him a taste of his own medicine in Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley. Perhaps unsurprisingly, City were head and shoulders above Chelsea despite several mistakes made by either side, with the 2-0 scoreline probably flattering the vanquished Blues.
David started, just as he has every preseason match so far. He’s quickly worked himself into Sarri’s good graces, though whether that will continue once everybody else gets up to speed remains to be seen. Certainly, David Luiz and Antonio Rüdiger proved a rather shaky partnership on Sunday.
“This year begins with a new philosophy, a new season. We faced the best team in England and one of the best, undoubtedly, in Europe, with an already implemented philosophy, that was difficult for them at the beginning, for a whole year...”
“They managed to implement this philosophy in the second year ... for us, we have just begun the work. We faced a great team, and we lost. So we move on and continue our progress.”
“We train every day to try to learn and assimilate [the new coaching philosophy] as quickly as possible. Attacking football, with high lines: we like that, we like to have the ball and without a doubt we are happy and eager to match our coach’s philosophy as quickly as possible.”
-David Luiz; source: Globo Esporte
That said, one thing David does not want is to have to wait an entire year until the new system can deliver trophies or success, in general. Neither do the fans, nor, probably, the owner.
“I hope not! I hope we can understand it quickly and can fight for all the titles. When you play for a big club you have to be ready to try to fight for the titles, and we’re going to fight for them.”
”Guardiola is a fantastic coach, and also Sarri is a fantastic coach. I hope [Sarri can have the same impact]. That’s our goal, and we’re going to work on that.”
“At the moment I’m in love with his philosophy, with the way he works, the way he is training, the way he loves football. [The formation] doesn’t matter, you just have to understand the collective philosophy. If you win, it’s good. It’s always like that.”
“I’m always happy to do my best to help the coach and the club.”
-David Luiz; source: FourFourTwo
The speed with which we successfully implement Sarri’s system and start seeing proper results on the pitch will be greatly enhanced if we can retain our best players. Thibaut Courtois may be a goner, but Willian and Eden Hazard are set to stay put.
But even if they do leave, David Luiz is confident Chelsea would have the quality to keep our level. That may be a bit too optimistic, but that’s just another reason we love him.
“Of course. I think Chelsea has a fantastic squad, with fantastic players. I want [our best players] to stay, because we have top players with the confidence. They know Chelsea a lot, so they know what they’ve had here, the fun they’ve had here. Everybody loves them and I hope they can stay.”
“[But] if they decide to leave, I think we will continue with fantastic players.”
-David Luiz; source: FourFourTwo
So say we all.