In the next part of our player interview series exploring the peculiarities of lockdown life and football without fans, we catch up with our vice-captain Jorginho.
As for everyone else, life as a Chelsea footballer has not been the same in 2020. From the initial lockdown, through Project Restart, and then on to the current, busy, behind-closed-doors programme of fixtures, there are things to be missed, new experiences to be had and even some fresh talents emerging.
Jorginho has experienced the full range of lockdown life, including learning an instrument, growing a new look and reflecting on the things that matter, as he explains to the official Chelsea website here...
What do you miss most about ‘normal’ football during this behind-closed-doors period? What’s the weirdest thing about now?
It’s actually the atmosphere because that is the amazing part of football and I really miss it. When I go out on the pitch, I can feel the people and their energy but now there is no crowd out there. You have to just motivate yourself with your team-mates and staff but you don’t hear anything out there so it’s very hard.
Is it strange being able to hear the manager and coaches more than normal?
That’s a good thing because you can help much more and be helped. We love the atmosphere in stadiums but communication is very important in football and sometimes when you cannot talk to each other on the pitch, it’s very hard so that’s the only positive thing about this period.
Is it easier or harder to play without fans?
It’s harder because the atmosphere is not there so you have to motivate yourself. There is no atmosphere at all so it’s like training really but we have to do it.
Has anyone told you they have heard you swearing on the TV coverage?
Not swearing but they say they can hear me because I talk all the time! That’s how I try to help my mates on the pitch.
Do you listen with the fake crowd noise when you watch games on TV?
I like to watch with the crowd noise because it’s something that I miss so I can experience it like this.
Did the lockdown period make you think about life without football?
It made me think not just about life without football but not being able to do what you want or what you like to do or what you need to do like seeing your friends or family. It was more about that and thinking how you love to be with people and do whatever you want. When you cannot do that and it’s not because of you but because of something else, it’s very hard and I think that made us all appreciate the little things.
Lots of hidden talents emerged during lockdown so did you learn anything new or have any surprising hobbies to help get you through?
I started to learn guitar during lockdown because I needed to do something new and learn something because I love learning. I love music and I was thinking maybe I should start to learn guitar properly as it makes me happy. I’m not a very good singer or very good at playing but I just enjoy it!
Does it feel easier to play games away from home than usual?
That’s another positive thing as well. When you go to play away it’s not easier because it’s never easy but it’s more comfortable because you can have more help.
Strangest dressing room set-up at the moment?
I don’t know which one actually but it’s all very weird having sometimes no changing room at all. They try to do their best the same as everyone does but it’s very strange. It doesn’t affect us honestly but it’s still strange.
What song are you most looking forward to hearing the fans sing again?
I like to hear them singing my name of course! I can’t wait to hear that again but really it is just about feeling their atmosphere even if they don’t call my name.
When you were out running during lockdown, did you get recognised? Did you work out an interesting route?
I didn’t actually go out a lot because I preferred to stay at home and do all my work there.
Who had the worst ‘lockdown look’ when you returned to Cobham?
I think maybe Kepa with his big hair but what surprised me most was actually my hair! Before lockdown, I didn't know I had curly hair because it was always short. I kept it longer because I didn’t want just anyone cutting my hair so when it was getting longer I thought 'oh I kind of like it' and then I found it fine - sometimes it’s nice for change and a new style.
What is different at Cobham compared with usual?
The changing room, the physio, the rules about times where we have lunch - everything is different but we have to get used to it.
How tough was it to keep fit without usual training?
We knew we had to train and the club did everything to help us to keep fit with exercise bikes and weights for us at home but it was still very hard. I tried to do my best but it was difficult.