Jorginho has been the heart of ‘Sarri-ball’ ever since Maurizio Sarri took him under his wing at Napoli in 2015. Such was Sarri’s reliance that, coincident with his arrival last summer, Jorginho was purchased for a hefty sum as well, fighting off competition from Guardiola at Manchester City.
A year later, Jorginho finds himself at the disposal of a new coaching team with different ideas. Lampard seems to have settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation, which Jorginho last saw regularly four years ago, under Rafa Benitez at Napoli, with rather unimpressive results. But under Lampard’s coaching and beside Mateo Kovačić in the pivot, Jorginho has looked right at home so far in preseason and seems to be liking his new role.
“It has been a new experience for me. I am liking it as I am learning, which I like to do. I am happy I got this opportunity. I like to learn and find out more. It’s going to be beneficial to my career and the club and the team. I have an open mind to learning new experiences.
“Of course we believe we can always improve because the moment that you think you cannot improve anymore you go backwards. We have to open our minds and believe we can be better and be on the rise.
“Certainly, I will do what I have always done and give my maximum performance. Fans can expect the same from me — hard work and a lot of work on the pitch to try to bring trophies and silverware that this club deserves.
After Sarri’s departure, the popular expectation was that Jorginho would follow once again, given their apparent interdependence on each other on the pitch and their close relationship off the pitch (which earlier Jorginho recently clarified to be nothing more special than that of a coach and a player), but Jorginho had other ideas. He is ready to move on to a new chapter.
“No, I wouldn’t say I was sad. He was my coach and we had worked together for four years but the time had come to go separate ways and I am very thankful to him for giving me the opportunity and everything I learnt from him, but now it is a new page and I have a new coach and I have to work hard and learn a lot. We have to look ahead.”
Jorginho has shown himself to be a fast and keen learner as evident by his up-turn of form in the second half of last season, when he delivered much more well-rounded performances after and despite all the heavy criticism. That sort of attitude and determination has not been lost of Lampard, who battled plenty of negative perceptions throughout his own career as well.
Lampard worked harder than most to mould himself into the best central midfielder in the world. Jorginho is also ready to work hard, to improve himself in all the ways he needs to improve to be successful in the new system.
“His career speaks for itself. Everyone can see what Lampard did as a player, not just for this club but for football in general. I watched- him when I was growing up and it’s great to have him here now as a coach. I believe he still has a lot to give to this club as a coach, as he did as a player.
“Of course, we talk about positions and ask questions like all other players, if they have any doubts they ask the coach and I ask about positions and various other aspects of the game which are important to know.
“I need to understand what he wants from me. So, I also ask to develop my game. The more questions I ask takes any doubt away and we can play the way he wants to play. Then we can give to the team just how he wants us to deliver.”
As the old guard have gradually handed over the reins to the new guard, leadership on and off the pitch has drastically diminished. Chelsea, in the last couple of years, have often collapsed at the first sign of trouble and more often than not, have not been able to completely reverse a result in our favour, despite the presence of veterans like Cesar Apilicueta or David Luiz in the squad.
Jorginho is often seen instructing players and helping them build up play from the back and is a jolly figure to have around off the pitch as well, if his Instagram videos are anything to go by. Such characters in the dressing room are always valuable. Jorginho, too, is keen to help out in leading the team as much as possible.
“Everyone in the team has to help each other. I think everyone in the team has leadership skills and can be leaders and we need to help each other. I have my way of doing things, because I am that way, I try to raise my voice to motivate team-mates and make them aware that if they lose a ball it is not a problem, so I try to motivate my team-mates and to speak to them and, because I see the game from the back I see everything in front of me; communication on the field can help a lot. That split second when you give a shout you know it will be beneficial for the team and this helps to motivate the team.”
Jorginho received more than his fair share of criticism last year, thanks to a mixture of non-flashy style of play, inconsistent defensive showings, as well as for being Sarri’s “son”, which is as silly as it sounds. His lack of tangible scoring output came under major scrutiny, but Jorginho batted away these criticism. At the end of the day, the aim of the game is for the team to win.
“I believe so, I haven’t got many goals and assists. Some people have said I haven’t got any assists — maybe they haven’t watched the games properly because I could find passes there. Hopefully I will have more luck this season and I can add a few more assists and goals too, but the most important thing is the team wins. It is more important for the team to win than the number of my assists.”
- Jorginho; source: Sky Sports
If nothing else, motivation and the will to improve are definitely not in short supply as far as Jorginho is concerned. Here’s to many midfield masterclasses from him in the future!