Chelsea winger Willian says it was “very difficult” to work with former Blues boss Antonio Conte.
Despite the criticism, Willian says he has high expectations for new manager Maurizio Sarri.
“I hope he [Sarri] is not like Conte,” Willian told ESPN Brazil. “No, I’m kidding!
“For me, Conte was a manager very difficult to work with. His philosophy, his way of dealing with things is very complicated. There were a few games … Sometimes we just don’t understand. You’re playing very well, then you get substituted. I do not understand. There were two times when I got substituted and I went straight to the locker room. It was hard to work with him.
“But in life, we learn from these kinds of things. We learn so much from difficulties. There were two years when I stayed on the bench in so many games, coming in later in the game. But this is in the past. The important thing now is to talk about Sarri. From what I heard, I am sure he is a great manager, who does a great job with the team. I have high expectations for working with him.”
Willian was asked about the controversial Instagram post, in which he covers up Conte.
Willian said, while laughing: “My daughter was playing with my cell phone and she ended up putting those emojis over Conte!
For me, since the beginning, since he arrived, I knew it would be hard. After the final … I got a plane right after the game to come to Brazil. When I got here, early in the morning, I was posting some champion pictures … Well, I was a bit too tired and ended up posting them like that.”
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) May 20, 2018
Willian asserts that issues came down to things he couldn’t control, when discussing his rocky relationship with his former coach.
“I don’t know, sometimes the manager doesn’t like you,” Willian said. “I don’t know if any of you have been in this situation before. You just feel that the manager doesn’t like you, but he has to use you sometimes. But you feel that he doesn’t like you at all. You didn’t do anything bad, but he doesn’t like you.”
Former striker Diego Costa left the club to rejoin Atletico Madrid after a falling out with the coach on the training pitch two seasons ago, so Willian hasn’t been the only one to have issues with Conte.
Additionally, defender David Luiz lost his place in the team last term after a falling out with Conte.
“With Diego … I remember I was … It was after the regular season, I was in Australia with the Brazilian national team and Diego texted me. He said: ‘I’m leaving. Conte said he doesn’t need me anymore.’
“I said: ‘What do you mean?’ And he said: ‘He texted me saying that he doesn’t need me on the team anymore and I am not supposed to go back.’
“But you can’t lose a player like Diego [Costa]. It was a difficult situation.”