Bought by José Mourinho to Chelsea during the Portuguese manager’s second stint in charge at Stamford Bridge, Willian has, over the past three years, become an integral part of the London club.

Currently playing under his third manager in Antonio Conte, the Brazilian winger has lived through ups and downs in the Premier League, and now he’s hoping the Italian can take them all the way back up after a tough 2015-16 season.

Speaking to France Football, the former Anzhi forward opened up about live under Conte at Chelsea, and the differences between his methods and those of his predecessors.

He said: “He’s a great manager. He’s proved it with Juventus and Italy. I’m certain he’ll know a lot of successes here. We started well, but then we dipped a bit. That’s normal, though, messing up at the beginning. We’re going to grow and we have faith in our manager.”

As to what differs between him and Mourinho/Hiddink: “Maybe how demanding he is. He doesn’t let anything go. You can’t relax one minute, otherwise he’s already on you. He’s also very insistent on tactical work, the details.


“He knows that at the highest level, it’s the small things that can make a big difference. Positioning on an attacking corner, for example. I personally like his way of seeing things. There’s no reason the way I play cannot adapt to what he asks of us.”

The player then went on to explain that, despite playing in an advanced position a lot of the time, he wouldn’t change his below average goal statistics (21 goals in 146 games for Chelsea), as his style of play is running at people and finding the final pass, which he loves.

Still a Brazilian at heart even if he has been in Europe since 2007 (Shakhtar, then Anzhi), the player uses every opportunity to go back to his home country to see his mother, currently undergoing treatment for cancer.

“She’s the one who gives me strength,” he said, “as she’s been undergoing chemotherapy and brain surgeries for two years. It’s from this strength that I get the energy to go to training every day. It’s hard to be away from those you love in times like those. I can only pray and hope she gets better.”

A regular for Brazil under Tite, Dunga’s successor, the Chelsea winger explained their aim was to win the 2018 World Cup to get over the 2014 disappointment, and he really believes they can do it.

After all, with a trident of Willian, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, it’s entirely possible.