While Chelsea’s young players are (deservedly) getting lots of praise, we cannot ignore the renaissance of some of our older players under Frank Lampard’s guidance this season either. One of the most notable names in this regard has been Willian, the veteran winger who is showing once again why he has been a staple of the team for the last six and a half years.
Part of that is thanks to the new head coach of course, with Willian getting deployed in a way that allows him to play to his strengths more so than he was able to do under either Antonio Conte or Maurizio Sarri (ed.note: or so he claims, despite career-best returns in goals and appearances).
“I had the pleasure and the privilege of playing alongside [Lampard], and now that I am being coached by him, I am feeling very happy and very confident as well.
“This season I have more freedom. In the last three years, [it’s been a] more ‘robotic’ game, where a player stands still more often. Lampard has given me plenty of freedom to cut inside, to drive on the outside, or to play between lines, just as I had done with Mourinho in previous years. I feel that my football yields better results this way.”
Willian has praised Lampard consistently since the start of the summer — and vice-versa — and while that hasn’t gotten him any closer to a contract extension, it has contributed to the good vibes and the good results at the club.
Chelsea may have undergone some massive changes recently — from transfers, to coaches, to players — but the atmosphere around the club has helped stabilize the situation and create a fertile foundation for this season and, hopefully, many seasons ahead.
Willian may not be around for too much longer, but he’s enjoying it as much as he can while he is.
“It has been a season of challenges, as it is always the case at Chelsea. Some big, important players left the club.
“In my mind, I had no doubts that I would have a bit more responsibility. We have a lot of young players at the moment, but they are also talented, and with loads of spirit. They have been showing that in matches, we are seeing them playing very well, scoring goals.”
“Many people raised doubts on what could happen at the beginning of this season, but Chelsea are doing quite well. We are fighting for the top places at the Premier League table, we are also fighting in the Champions League. Without a doubt, it has been very good to play with [the youth].”
-Willian; source: Globo Esporte
Chelsea have already proved many critics wrong. But we can go further, both in that regard, and on the pitch as well, and prove them all wrong!