On and off the pitch, Jorginho was fairly central to most things Chelsea this past season.
On the pitch, that was by design, thanks to his role as the passing fulcrum of Sarri-ball. Off the pitch, it was less so, thanks to his role as the lightning rod for criticism of Sarri-ball, and in turn, the team’s overall performances.
To his credit, Jorginho faced his criticism, let it wash over him, and vowed to prove them wrong. Opinions differ on just how well he did that, but by the end of the season he was doing things we would not have thought him capable of at the start, such as putting in ten (10!) tackles against Arsenal in the Europa League final — surely a noteworthy accomplishment even if such discrete statistics are, by the sport’s very nature, quite limited.
Jorginho himself has recently talked about how his game has changed for the better, for the more complete over the course of the season, and now his national team manager, Roberto Mancini has backed him on that as well. Speaking after Italy’s impressive 3-0 dismissal of Greece in Euro 2020 qualifying, the former Inter Milan and Manchester City boss lauded the 27-year-old’s development.
“We played very well in the first half and didn’t allow Greece to do anything. One of the reasons why we concede so little is that the midfielders hold the ball well and stay in advanced positions. The forwards are also aggressive and make it difficult for the opposition to get a rhythm going.
“Jorginho was already doing well at Napoli, but perhaps playing in England has given him more experience in dealing with a higher tempo and referees who let play run more.”
-Roberto Mancini; source: Football Italia
Playing at a high tempo and dealing with the rough and tumble of the Premier League would surely be music to a Chelsea head coach’s ear, be that Maurizio Sarri or someone else.
But while Jorginho has more or less ruled out leaving Chelsea this summer, he can’t say the same about Sarri. In fact, he can’t say anything at all, since he claims to not know anything. We’ll forgo an omertà joke for the moment.
“I don’t know, we’ll see what he chooses. I have no idea what he’ll do, to be honest, as I am focused on Italy right now.”
-Jorginho; source: RAI Sport via Football Italia
Jorginho played the full 90 for Italy yesterday. Emerson also started and provided a lovely assist (under no pressure whatsoever to pick his cross), before making way for Mattia De Sciglio in the 68th minute.