Maurizio Sarri has said that David Luiz has surprised him “as a player and as a man” since he took over as Chelsea head coach in the summer.
Luiz has played every minute of Chelsea’s first seven Premier League matches this season and impressed under pressure against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, clearing one goal-bound header from Roberto Firmino off the line in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
It is a remarkable return to prominence for the Brazil international, who was frozen out of the first team by Antonio Conte following a training-ground argument last season and did not feature for Chelsea in the final three months of the campaign.
Luiz has openly admitted that he would likely have left Stamford Bridge last summer if Conte had stayed, but Sarri views the 31-year-old defender as ideally suited to how he wants to coach his players on and off the pitch.
“I have to say he is better than I thought before, really better,” Sarri said of Luiz. “As a player and as a man.
“I don’t know [what happened] before, but when I arrived here immediately I had the feeling he is a very good player for my way of football because he is a very technical centre-back. Then, I appreciate very much the man.”
Elaborating on Luiz’s qualities as a man, Sarri added: “He is direct. If he has to say something to the manager, to talk to me, he [comes] direct to me.”
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