Maurizio Sarri and his brand of football has received more than its fair share of criticisms lately, with one player above all the rest serving as the lightning rod through which a lot of that was conducted: Sarri-ball enabler, Jorginho.
To be sure, the former Napoli midfielder around whom Sarri had built his teams over the last four years has been far from perfect. He’s been effectively nullified more often than not in the past few months, starting right around mid-November. Everton and Spurs were hardly the first opponents to stick a man on him, but their successful blueprint has since been followed by many others. And while the rest of the team haven’t exactly been covering themselves in glory either (and are a big part of why Jorginho’s metronomic passing has been ineffective), the midfielder has come to be seen as the root of all problems — especially as he has displaced N’Golo Kante from the center of the pitch as well.
But Jorginho is starting to get the hang of things. His recent form has seen a sharp upturn, with noteworthy showings (on and off the ball and despite not converting his penalty kick in the shootout) in the League Cup final against Manchester City (who really wanted him in the summer, we should remember) and just 72 hours later against Spurs. He’s now hoping to continue along those lines and show the fans just why Chelsea spent so much on him this past summer.
“With technology, we see everything [that is said about us] — and very quickly. The important thing is to know how to deal with the situation.”
“I am calm because fans are like that: when you don’t win, they complain. They have the right to complain, but I remained calm. I will continue to do my job and, without doubt, I believe I can show my worth and change their minds.”
“Not winning affected me, not fans’ criticism. I was down because we really wanted to win this final.”
-Jorginho; source: ESPN
This is Jorginho’s first professional season in a country other than Italy, and adapting to England can be hard for any player. He has not been perfect, but he’s not been as terrible as he’s been made out to be. But as long as Sarri’s at Chelsea, he will continue to be one of the first names on the team sheet — perhaps with a bit of positive support, he will even manage to justify his place in all our hearts and minds as well.