Chelsea winger Willian says there is “no chance” he would be at the club had former head coach Antonio Conte still been in charge. Conte won the 2016-17 Premier League title with the Blues but was sacked in July after finishing fifth.
His replacement, fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri, won his first Premier League match in charge, 3-0 at Huddersfield on Saturday.
“The manager tells us to play, to enjoy ourselves on the pitch,” Willian said.
“Is it fun to play this way? I think so. We have a lot of players with quality up front, like Eden Hazard and Pedro. Players like that want to play football.
“That’s why he [Sarri] talked about ‘fun’ football [after arriving at Chelsea]. This is what we will try to do this season.”
Brazilian Willian, 30, was linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United this summer but committed his future to the Blues in early August.
Asked whether he would have stayed if Conte had not been fired, he told the Evening Standard: “No chance. No. I’m here because I want to play for Chelsea. I will only leave if Chelsea want me to go.”
Chelsea are at home to Arsenal in their next league fixture on Saturday, and Willian added: “Now we have a different style, that’s why we can create problems for Arsenal.
“Of course, it will be a special game against Arsenal because it is a derby. It is always difficult against them. We have to prepare well during the week.”
Willian, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a winger or as an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Chelsea and the Brazil national team.
Willian started his career at Corinthians, before joining Shakhtar in August 2007 for a fee of €14 million. In his six years at the club, he won honours including five Ukrainian Premier League titles and the UEFA Cup in 2009. In 2013, he briefly signed for Anzhi Makhachkala before joining Chelsea for £30 million, winning the Premier League and League Cup in his second season in England.
Willian made his debut for Brazil in 2011 and represented the country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 Copa América and the Copa América Centenario.
On 25 August 2013, English Premier League club Chelsea agreed a deal to sign Willian for a fee of £30 million, subject to a work permit hearing on 28 August 2013. The deal was made official on 28 August 2013 and Willian signed a five-year contract, receiving the number 22 shirt. Although regulations usually state that non-EU players must be regular internationals, Willian was given a work permit despite only having two caps at the time, as an FA panel deemed that if were he not Brazilian he would be a regular.
Willian made his debut on 18 September against Basel in the Champions League in a 1–2 home defeat. After featuring in wins against Swindon Town and Steaua București in the League Cup and Champions League respectively, he made his league debut on 6 October away to Norwich City, and scored in a 3–1 win. He scored his second Chelsea goal on 1 January 2014 in a 3–0 victory at Southampton. On 27 April 2014, Willian scored in Chelsea’s 2–0 away victory against Liverpool.