Jorginho may have been regarded and derided as Sarri’s man last season, good for little more than sideways short passing and passive play off the ball, but under Frank Lampard, he’s emerged as not just a more complete midfielder, but as one of the biggest, most vocal leaders on the team. Consequently, Lampard even named him Vice-captain.
That’s not to say that Jorginho is the second coming of prime N’Golo Kanté, but his passion is often contagious. He may keep it loose in the dressing room, but on the pitch, it’s always serious business. And he’d like to see the same from his teammates, young and old alike.
On Sunday, with Chelsea distinctly second best and getting overrun by Arsenal, Jorginho’s introduction changed the game. Not just because he scored a lucky goal. Mostly because his introduction signaled a change in tactics, and just as importantly, a change in attitude.
“I tried to push my mates [when I came on]. We were a bit soft at the beginning and I tried to change [that] because we needed to change our mindset. We were not fighting enough. I don’t know why. Sometimes it can happen.
”Sometimes you go on the pitch and you are not right and, when you want to change because you realise you are not fighting enough, it’s hard. Today we could change that but sometimes we can’t so maybe we need to prepare ourselves better.
”I think what’s important is that all the players talk and help. Today I came on from the bench and could help my mates. The most important thing is the result because we worked a lot and I think honestly we deserved it.”
The Arsenal match unfortunately was not an isolated incident of Chelsea shying away from the task at hand. All too often, especially in recent weeks and especially at home, we’ve taken the safe choice, made the safe play, avoided risk. Jorginho wants us to stop doing that, and he’s probably not alone in that regard.
“You know you have to fight. Sometimes you go on the pitch and play a bit soft at home, I think is what we have to change. Sometimes we play against teams that don’t want to play, just defend and make counter-attacks, and it’s harder to find space.
”We need to work hard to break that. I think you should push and break the lines, run more behind the lines. Sometimes we don’t do that, we want to play just ball into feet, and maybe we could change that. Again, it’s mentality.”
Such growing pains and inconsistencies are often a hallmark of young teams, but that excuse only gets you so far. Players both young and old need to step up and take responsibility.
“I think when you play for Chelsea, we talk a lot about ‘young, young, young, young’ but we are in the middle of the season and every player has to take responsibility. Not just the older players. Of course, the younger players need more help but youth is not an excuse, you just have to be ready, prepared for the game, prepared to fight, because you are playing for Chelsea in the Premier League and that’s it.”
-Jorginho; source: Goal
Brighton are up next, as the calendar turns another page. It’s a time of new years and new resolutions, so perhaps we can turn the page as well, and kick our soft habits of the first half of the season.