Chelsea’s most expensive midfielder of all time, Jorginho had a decent start to his career at Stamford Bridge, pulling the strings of Sarri-ball for a 12-match unbeaten run to begin the season. It didn’t take long for opponents to figure things out however, and they began man-marking Jorginho, starving him of the ball, and in effect, nullifying the head coach’s tactical schemes. This led to widespread criticism of a system that was so heavily dependent on one player.
As results swayed from mediocre to worse, the disgruntled voices became louder and louder. Jorginho had unfortunately, and unfairly, become the scapegoat in the process, bearing the brunt of the criticisms (just or unjust), and even incurring the wrath and the shameful boos of the matchday crowd.
While Jorginho finished the season strongly just as he had promised — though still without an official assist — and had begun to win over the naysayers, many expected him to follow Maurizio Sarri once again when he left for Juventus and was replaced by Frank Lampard. Seen as an ultra-specialized player, Jorginho was not expected to fit into Lampard’s more dynamic tactical ideas, but so far, the exact opposite has proven true.
Jorginho chant from the Chelsea fans, not heard that one before... Opinion is turning— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) August 24, 2019
Lampard has talked up Jorginho’s qualities from day one, both the technical and the mental, and that has not changed through the first few games of the season, all four of which Jorginho has started (either in a two- or a three-man midfield). That’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement — and Lampard mentions a couple specific ones indeed — but so far so good from “Chelsea’s Jorginho”.
“I have a bit of an issue with assists because I think they can be a bit false. An assist can be because of a goal from your pass or a deflection from your corner. There is quite a wide spectrum.
“What I see in Jorginho is a quality of pass and I want to see him use his range. He played some great through-balls against Liverpool and I know he can do it. He can do what’s asked of him and he is eager to do it. I love his spirit, how he trains and how he plays. I keep going on about that but it’s infectious and it’s important.
”I watched him last year and I thought he finished the season really well but you only really know a player when you see them day in and day out. From the first day of training he showed me instantly his quality and his attitude. I am actually fortunate to have Jorginho.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Sky Sports
Jorginho’s strong mentality, work ethic, and on-pitch leadership surely reminds Lampard of himself, even if their specific styles of play are fairly different. If Jorginho can add a bit more incisiveness to his passing, which he has begun to do, he just might prove that he can indeed find success outside the confines of Sarri-ball.
Onwards and upwards!