Antonio Conte admitted that Willian has earned a place at the heart of his plans against Barcelona after the Brazilian continued his prolific scoring run in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Willian broke the deadlock on 25 minutes at Stamford Bridge, firing a low shot beyond Wayne Hennessey to net his fifth goal in his last five Chelsea appearances, the best form of his Blues career.
After the match, Conte confirmed that he will continue to reward Willian with a place in his starting XI, and praised the “maturity” that the 29-year-old is showing to impact games at both ends of the pitch.
“You can see that if a player stays in great form I’m the first to pick him in the starting XI,” Conte said. “Willian is playing in a fantastic way, but I want to underline, not only with the ball, also without the ball. He’s working very hard and he’s helping the team without the ball.”
“He’s showing great maturity at this point of his career. In my heart I hope to see him at this level, to continue this performance. He’s playing very well with the ball, without the ball. It’s important to have balance within the game because when we lose our balance it’s very difficult.”