David Luiz has gone from a rarely seen figure last season under Antonio Conte — due to injuries and other reasons — starting only 9 times in the Premier League, to a key player under Maurizio Sarri having started 26 of Chelsea’s 28 Premier League matches so this season. His resurrection has been a result of great synergy between him and the new head coach, both on the pitch (David Luiz’s passing ability, both long and short, key to Chelsea’s build-up, press breaking, and creativity) and off it, where their philosophies of life mesh almost as much as their philosophies of football.
But it’s not been all hunky dory at Chelsea, especially through the winter months after our early season form (or luck) ran out and cracks started to appear. Increasingly tough questions were being raised about not just Maurizio Sarri’s suitablity to England, but also of David Luiz’s (once again). But Chelsea seem to have finally managed to get back on the horse and we’re all a lot happier now.
“We have turned negative into positive, it was never easy to turn that. It was amazing to do that. The final and Tottenham it was a great performance. For me as a senior player it is not nice to have these moments, but I have to influence the team as well.
“You have to be clever to find the situation. Meetings are to do that and I think we did that. Sometimes you need more than one meeting. To be strong is to find the right solution.”
What caused this change of form? Was it change in tactics or just the players pulling up their socks and buying into the philosophy? Well, as David Luiz tell it, it was a little bit of both. It’s still mostly the same thing, just better!
“The style didn’t change, just some moments of the game. To have the high pressure of the game, just to get our oxygen back. Everyone knows our style. We play the same style.
“We forgot that, this is football. I think we are trying to adapt in every situation and to adapt. We had some difficult moments, but the players, the manager and the club adapt very well. It was a decision from the club to change the style. People would say that we win but not control the game, now it is about what we believe and everyone believes his philosophy.”
“We have to be intelligent to understand the moments. It is not easy to fight for every opportunity. You have to be intelligent for football now. Everything is about looking at the ball, anticipate the ball, water on the grass, the boots, everything.”
Chelsea now have Champions League qualification in sight once again (either through the league or Europa), but if we are to continue our winning ways, David Luiz’s fitness and form will be very important. (Sorry, for now, Andreas Christensen.) A month shy of his 32nd birthday, the player who once insisted on playing a Champions League final on basically one leg, now has to work extra hard (and extra smart) just to stay fit. Fortunately, David’s got a system that works for him.
“I am very good. I rested against Fulham. You have to do things between the games. You have to work every game. I had the same person working with me since 2012, the player has to invest in their bodies and this is what I do. I work here and at home. He worked for many years in football. He works a lot in prevention. That’s what he does with me.”
It’s certainly good to see David Luiz happy and fit and raring to go. He’s not quite the carefree and wild “Geezer” of yesteryear, but he’s still the best human, a leader, and a strong presence (one of the few) in the dressing room. He’s also a massive fan of Sarri himself, which does help in turbulent times.
“He [Sarri] is a great human, that means he doesn’t change his situation. He has a love and passion for football, lovely with the people and giving the advice. When you lose a game at Manchester or something, nobody is going to be happy. He is a real person.”
-David Luiz; source: Football.London
Winning tends to solve a lot problems. Sot let’s keep going!