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Sarri: David Luiz is becoming a Chelsea protagonist again

22:30 BST 30/09/2018
David Luiz Chelsea 2018-19
The Blues defender was considering leaving Stamford Bridge over the summer but he is now back in a prominent role after the club changed managers

Maurizio Sarri says he likes David Luiz's direct style of communciation and that he is picking up the new style of football quicker than anyone, as he brings him back into the fold at Stamford Bridge.

The 31-year-old made only 17 appearances under Antonio Conte last season after falling out with the former head coach, leading him to not making an appearance for the club from February onwards.

Luiz had offers from clubs to leave London over the summer and is open about the fact that he would have left had Conte stayed the manager at the club.

Sarri quickly brought him back into the fold and he has started him in every Premier League game so far this season.

"Yes, I have to say he is a lot better than a thought," Sarri told reporters at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday. "A lot better, both as a player and as a man. I don't know what happened before I arrived, but when I arrived here, immediately I had the feeling that he is a very good player for my way of football because he is a very technical centre back.

"Then I appreciated his qualities as a man. He is direct, if he has to say something to the manager, to talk to me. Then he goes directly to me. I don't know [if Conte didn't like it] but I like very much the direct people. I like this [communication] very much.

"He was a little confused because two seasons ago he was a protagonist then he had six months without playing, he was a little confused. I think he is very able to play my football with his characteristics. He is very able to start the actions from the defensive line. So I think he is very suitable for me."

The Brazil international is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge having helped the club win their first ever Champions League in his first spell at the club and having played over 200 times in the blue shirt.

It is clear that Sarri and Luiz have established a good relationship and the centre back returned the compliments to his manager, who has surprised people by keeping Chelsea up near the top of the table after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the league last season.

"Sarri is giving us a lot of happiness to play football. We are trying to enjoy," Luiz told Chelsea TV. "He gives us a lot of confidence. He shows us what he wants. He gives us the details about the game.

"He works hard in every situation. And also as a human he's a fantastic person. Every single day he says to us 'you have the best job in the world, so you have to enjoy'. You have to try to do this with a big smile. Many people in the world don't have this privilege."

Alongside Antonio Rudiger, Luiz has established himself as the first choice centre back and he made a remarkable clearance against Liverpool from Roberto Firmino as his club tried to get a huge win over a key rival. However, ex-Blue Daniel Sturridge scored a stunning long range strike late on to dash those hopes.

Nevertheless, Sarri was happy with the defensive efforts of his team and he thinks that Eden Hazard is underrated for the work his does in stoppping the opposition.

"I am really very happy with him today," added Sarri about Hazard. "Especially for the defensive phase, especially for the defensive phase in the second half when the team needed some help from him. I am really very happy. For us, this attitude is important.

"We are trying to defend looking at the ball and if we are defending looking at the ball then we need every player to participate in the defensive phase, otherwise it is impossible. So I am really happy with the defensive phase of Eden today.

"I think that we have played very well. We have had five or six chances. I also think Liverpool have had five or six opportunities. We have played against a top level team, so I am disappointed about the result but only because they have scored in the last 10 minutes of the match. I think that the draw was the right result for a wonderful match."