After speaking in the build-up about the need to stay hungry and humble, Jorginho was pleased with Chelsea’s appetite to hard work and goals in Saturday’s victory at Newcastle United.
The Italian returned to the side after sitting out the midweek Carabao Cup win against Southampton, his presence in midfield all the more important following injury and illness to Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount respectively.
While it was Reece James’s brace that grabbed the headlines for the Blues on Tyneside, Jorginho’s typically composed converted penalty put the game to bed in the dying stages.
However, it was the 29-year-old’s experience and cool head that proved just as significant as we were forced to remain patient before finally breaking the Magpies down in the final quarter of the contest.
‘It was hard because they were defending well and there wasn’t much space to find a pass or to run with the ball,’ he admitted afterwards.
‘They were defending very well with all 11 players in 20 or 25 metres but we kept pushing, we kept pressing and counter-pressing when we lost the ball, and we had control of the whole game, which is what we tried to do.
‘To not allow Newcastle to have a counter-attack here in their stadium is not easy and we did that so I think we did a good job.’
Jorginho, captain on the day in the absence of Cesar Azpilicueta, revealed that a small tactical tweak from Thomas Tuchel at the break had paid dividends for the visitors.
‘In the second half, the coach did a little change tactically in the offensive phase and it helped us on the pitch to find more solutions,’ he said.
Despite the call in some quarters for James to be given the chance to net a hat-trick with the spot-kick, Jorginho was eager to set the record straight that he and the young defender never spoke about the potential for penalty-taking duties to be passed over.
‘He didn’t ask,’ said our number five. ‘That’s important to be clear that he didn’t ask for anything. He just came over to support me.
‘He’s amazing with both feet,’ he continued about James’s brace, ‘and he opened the game for us, which was great. It [the first] was a beautiful goal.’
Liverpool’s draw and Manchester City’s defeat elsewhere on Saturday meant the victory opened up a three-point gap at the top of the Premier League for Tuchel’s men. While the Blues host Burnley at Stamford Bridge next weekend, the rest of the top five are all in action against each other on what could be another key set of fixtures.
Yet Jorginho feels we should choose to have such conversations with 10 games to go rather than that many played, preferring instead on picking up points in matches we might have dropped them in previously.
‘It feels good that we won here because we need to look at ourselves and not have a focus on the other teams,’ he added.
‘We have a focus just on us, what we have to do and what we are doing because if we keep working like this, keep pushing and putting the group first then we can have the results we want. Then we will see at the end of the season what can happen.
‘We need to try to win every single game and not drop points in these kind of games. Maybe we missed that in the last two or three years.’