Two of our attackers, Willian and Eden Hazard, have detailed the demands which are placed upon the team by Maurizio Sarri in terms of our playing style, and the duo feel we are being rewarded for a patient approach.
Both players started Saturday’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth, with Hazard scoring our second goal late in the game following Pedro’s opener, which came 19 minutes from time.
Willian, who expects us to face similar tests throughout the season, explained how Sarri wants the team to play.
‘He likes us to play, to build from the back with possession and he likes great football so that’s what we want to do on the pitch,’ said the Brazilian. ‘We try to keep the ball, keep possession, play fast with one-twos and now we just have to improve ourselves and continue.
‘I think we had a good game against Bournemouth, we played against a difficult team. They had 11 players behind the ball and we tried to move the ball from one side to the other. In the first half it was difficult but in the second half we had more space and we scored the two goals.
‘When the opponent gives more space it’s better for us but we have to adapt because every team now, when they come to Stamford Bridge, is going to play the same way. They will stay there with 11 players so we will have to keep the ball, have patience and move the ball to try and find some space.’
Hazard’s strike on Saturday was his second in as many games and with the team having scored late goals in all four of our matches so far, the Belgian says our ability to retain the ball is allowing us to take advantage in the closing stages.
‘It’s not so different, we just have a new manager and two or three new players but it’s still Chelsea,’ said the 27-year-old. ‘We play with the same patience as we did last year and two years ago, but I think the big change this season is we try to keep the ball more often, which is why we create more chances and why we are scoring goals.
‘It’s so simple, we just need to play quicker and move forward quicker. The manager doesn’t like it when we just keep the ball at the back, he wants us to move forward so we are trying to do that in training and also when we have a game.
‘This is the Premier League and the games are always hard. We like to keep the ball and then maybe the opponent is tired so that’s why we are scoring goals at the end of the game. We did it against Newcastle, Bournemouth and Arsenal as well, so we just need to be patient. When we have the ball we create chances and then at the end if we can score goals we need to.’
The fact Sarri had limited time to work with his full squad prior to the start of the season makes the fact we have taken maximum points from our opening four matches all the more impressive, and Willian praised the Italian for the work he has been doing.
‘I think he’s doing well,’ he said. ‘In football you always have to improve, even when you win matches. He’s doing a great job and we have to carry on in the same way.’