Willian assesses his match-winning role in our defeat of Manchester City, what the Blues did well and his own future at the club beyond the end of the season...
Not for the first time in his seven-year career in England, it was Willian the match-winner at Stamford Bridge as the Brazilian’s impressive penalty sealed all three points for Chelsea on Thursday night in a crucial game for our prospects of securing Champions League football once again next season.
At the end of 2013/14, his first campaign with the Blues, the forward had inflicted an ultimately decisive blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations in our memorable 2-0 win at Anfield.
Football poetry would have it that the 31-year-old’s spot-kick proved conclusive in sealing Premier League glory for the Reds six years on.
However, Willian was more interested in the implications of the win on solidifying our position in the top four as Frank Lampard’s side re-established a five-point buffer over chasers Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, while also moving to within a solitary point of third-placed Leicester City.
‘It was a really good game and a really important three points,’ stated our number 10 after his penalty followed Christian Pulisic’s opener to give us the win over City.
‘We know that to play against them is very difficult. They have a great team and they have the ball all the time but we did well when we had possession.
‘In the first half, we had a couple of good chances and then in the second half with the ball we played more on the counter-attack and created some great chances. When we didn’t have the ball, we stayed compact and together so it was a good game from us.’
The goal was Willian’s eighth of the campaign and his third in our past four games either side of the 15-week pause that came as a consequence of the global coronavirus pandemic. His 90 minutes of action followed involvement from the start against Aston Villa four days earlier and he reported feeling fresh following the football restart.
‘I’m feeling good,’ he noted. ‘We had one month to prepare well with a lot of fitness training so all the players feel good to play and we showed that on the pitch.
‘We have to keep going,’ he continued when assessing the race for Champions League qualification. ‘We know teams that come from behind want to win to go in the top four as well so we have to do our job.’
Having agreed a short-term extension to his contract allowing him to feature for the Blues for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, speculation continues to surround the Brazilian’s future beyond this campaign.
Lampard disclosed earlier in the week that talks between the player and the club were ongoing, with Willian insisting all options remain open, although on-field matters remain his primary focus right now.
‘I want to finish the season well if I go, or maybe I can stay,’ he added. ‘I don’t know but what I want now is to play well and for Chelsea to finish in the top four.’