Analysis

Lightning strikes twice for Willian who reveals key to free-kick success

Willian admitted his free-kick against Dynamo Kiev in 2015 crossed his mind as he prepared to strike a similarly sumptuous set-piece against the Ukrainian side last night.

Comparisons could be drawn even before Willian curled our second goal of the night into the top corner. The free-kick was awarded on virtually the same patch of grass at the same end of Stamford Bridge against the same opposition. Best of all, the outcome was the same.

‘To be honest, yes!’ Willian replied when asked if it stirred memories of his previous effort against Dynamo Kiev, three-and-a-half years ago.

‘The position was very similar. I have liked to play against them since I was at Shakhtar! It was a beautiful goal, it was the same when I scored against them three years ago.

‘To score goals like that you have to practise during the week. I practise in training. I kicked the ball well and it was a beautiful goal.’

Read: Chelsea - Kings of the direct free-kick

While understandably delighted to have scored at a crucial moment in the tie against a side that are the big rivals of his former club Shakhtar Donetsk, Willian stressed he was most pleased by the final result even if he thought the margin of victory might have been greater.

‘The team played well, but we need to be more clinical. In the first half it could have been 3-0 to us, we missed some chances, but we did the job, and now we have to go to Kiev and finish the job.

‘We are halfway to the next round. If you don’t go there with the same mentality, 100 per cent, if you think the game will be easy, in football you never know.

‘It’s not finished. It will be very difficult there but we can play with a lot of confidence. We have to go there with the same mentality, try to win and go through to the next round.

‘We know our target. We want to get to the final. We have to go step by step. It’s difficult to play against any team, and it will be more difficult in the quarter-final, the semi-final, the final.’

In the immediate future our attention returns to the Premier League. Ten matches remain for us and the battle for a top-four spot is as tight as it’s been all season. Five points separate four teams – though we have a game in hand – and this weekend Arsenal meet Manchester United at the Emirates.

Elsewhere Tottenham travel to Southampton, while we host Wolves on Sunday, and Willian is prepared for another tough test against a side impressing in the top half of the table.

‘We had a difficult moment, but now we are improving. We are solid defensively and offensively as well. After City [away] we learned a lot.

‘We know it’s very difficult to win games in the Premier League and finish the league well, but we have to have the same mentality in every game.

‘Sunday will be difficult again. We need to prepare well and to win because we want to get in the top four.’

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