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  • By Paul Lagan

Luiz: We can compete for title even if Courtois and Hazard leave

David Luiz is confident that even if Eden Hazard (pictured) leaves, Chelsea can compete for the title

David Luiz is certain that even if Chelsea lose Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois this week, they can still compete for the Premier League.

After the humbling 2-0 defeat against Man City at Wembley the weekend, the Brazil defender insists life will carry on.

He said of a potential post Hazard and Courtois Chelsea: "Of course. I think Chelsea has a fantastic squad, with fantastic players. I want them to stay, because we have top players with the confidence. If they decide to leave, I think we will continue with fantastic players.

"Chelsea wants for the best players to stay. They know Chelsea a lot, so they know what they’ve had here, the fun they’ve had here. Everybody loves them and I hope they can stay."

His best buddy at Stamford Bridge is Willian, and Luiz is again convinced the wide man is not exiting the Bridge this week.

He said: " He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic friend. I’ve known Willian since I was eight, so a long time. Willian loves Chelsea. He played against Man City after the World Cup, he already showed his quality, so I wanted him to stay.

"We are friends for a long time. Since the beginning, he told me he loved Chelsea. To leave Chelsea, just have to do something totally out of the reality or if he really wanted to leave or if Chelsea really wanted to kick him out. This is not the reality. Chelsea loves Willian, Willian loves Chelsea, so that’s great."

Having had a torrid last season with injuries and a cooling of good relations with head coach Antonio Conte, Luiz ended speculation about his own Chelsea future: "Yes. I was just working, and trying to do my best, and start this new season with a new coach. Sarri said to me, everybody has the opportunity, you just have to show him character, physical quality, technical quality, so since the first day I’m trying to do that. I was thinking to stay here [even if Conte hadn’t left] because I have a contract.

Chelsea has reverted back to a flat back four under Maurizio Sarri - does that suit Luiz?

He said: "It's amazing. I won 17 titles in my career, and only two in a back three. It doesn’t matter, you just have to understand the collective philosophy. If you win, it’s good – it’s always like that. I’m always happy to do my best to help the coach and the club."

On Sarri, Luiz said: "Guardiola is a fantastic coach, and also Sarri is a fantastic coach. At the moment I’m in love with his philosophy, with the way he works, the way he is training, the way he loves football, the way he sees the details, the things he can see. He just tries to help us to understand his philosophy and then after that, the collective results are going to be on the pitch."

Chelsea have yet to win a pre-season match in 90 minutes and the defeat to City was particul;ay bad.

Luiz said: "It was a difficult game against one of the best teams in the world, everybody knows that. We have started a new philosophy, a new method, with a new coach. City are in the third consecutive year with the same coach, the same philosophy. In the first year, there was a struggle and it was not easy [for them] to understand the Guardiola philosophy, and now you can see every single one knows what they have to do on the pitch. We are starting now, building a new philosophy with a new manager, so it’s never easy to play against them. It was a great game, congratulations to them.

Can Chelsea afford a season like Pep’s first season at City?

"I hope not," he said: "I hope we can understand it quickly and can fight for all the titles. When you play for a big club you have to be ready to try to fight for the titles, and we’re going to fight for that."

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