Chelsea have been underestimated under Maurizio Sarri, says Willian following Europa League triumph
Willian believes that Chelsea were underestimated by their Premier League rivals this season and has said the club has answered their critics after “a lot of ups and downs”.
Eden Hazard scored two goals and made another as Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final in Azerbaijan on Wednesday night.
Chelsea's commanding victory saw them end a difficult season on a high. Manager Maurizio Sarri has been repeatedly criticised and the club were placed outside the top four for long periods this season, only to eventually finish third before their European triumph.
“I think so, I think so,” Willian replied when asked whether he felt Chelsea had been underestimated under Sarri. “A lot of people thought Chelsea had no chance to win anything this season because we do not play well, or something like that. But at the end we have won this important trophy.
“I think that there were a lot of ups and downs [this season]. And at the end we took third position in the Premier League, we went to the Carabao Cup final and now we have won the Europa League final so, if you think about that, you can say it was good.
“Now we have to enjoy the holidays and prepare for next season.”
Willian, who came off the bench to replace goalscorer Pedro midway through the second-half, has also backed Chelsea to continue playing well even if they lose Hazard this summer.
Hazard was sensational in the final, but afterwards declared “I think it's a goodbye,” with Sarri later commenting: “I know he wants to leave and I have to respect his decision.”
Willian added: “Of course it is difficult to lose players like him. But if he goes, Chelsea will do everything to buy or I think here we have players with quality who can continue the job without him.
“Of course he is a special player, a fantastic player, but Chelsea always is like this. The job will continue.