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  • By Paul Lagan

Willian: If Conte had stayed I would have left

Willian Photo by Paul Lagan

Willian hopes that Chelsea’s perfect start to the season will continue tomorrow as they face Arsenal at the Bridge.

The Brazilian wideman is confident that under new boss Maurizio Sarri, the Blues can improve on last season’s disappointing fifth finish in the Premier League.

It was that statistic which finally did for Antonio Conte, who despite taking one pre-season training session was sacked hours before Sarri was appointed last month.

There was serious dressing room unrest with Conte last season with Willian admitting that either Conte left or he did.

Asked if he would still be at the Bridge if the Italian was still at the Bridge helm, he replied: “If Conte stays? No chance, no chance. No.”

Sarri’s arrival has taken the heat out of the tension, but several senior players will be frustrated at the lack of playing time they are going to get.

Gary Cahill has lost out to Antonio Rudiger and back in favour David Luiz. Cahill is mulling over announcing a retirement from England duty in an attempt to prolong his Chelsea career.

But he will seek to leave the Blues in January if he can’t get back in the side.

The game against the Gunners is a 5,30pm kick-off. Willian said: “We know we have to improve, but we are just at the beginning.

“We played very well in the 3-0 win against Huddersfield at the weekend. Now we have to continue like that because we have a great game to play against Arsenal and we want to win again.

“It is never easy to play against any team in the Premier League.

“We have prepared well during the week because we know it will be a difficult game for sure.”

Willian is hoping to put the recent lack of good results against the north Londoners behind them – they haven’t won in the past seven encounters.

“We have a different profile of football now, a different way to play football,” he said.

“The manager tells us to play, to enjoy ourselves on the pitch – with responsibility. Now I think we have a different style to play that’s why we can create problems for Arsenal.”

Sarri has mentioned how he wants to inject fun into the squad – something distinctly lacking last season. Willian agrees.

“We have a lot of players with quality up front, players like Eden [Hazard] and Pedro,’ he said.

“Players like that want to play football, no? That’s why he [Sarri] talked about fun football, because he wants to build from the back. This is what we will try to do this season.”

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