Chelsea defender David Luiz has suggested that his “optimistic” style of play led to the club selling him to Paris Saint-Germain when Jose Mourinho was in charge.
The Brazil international was offloaded three years ago after spending just 12 months under Mourinho, who is famously a defensive-minded manager.
Luiz insists that the now-Manchester United boss was not alone in feeling that he was not cut out for the top level of English football, however, and he also believes that Antonio Conte took a risk when bringing him back to Stamford Bridge last summer.
“Hey, that is not just Mourinho,” he told the Daily Mail. “In Brazil they say it, too. Defenders must be pessimists. I cannot be that. I am an optimist in my life. I’m positive. I always think and dream of the best things. But I know where I am. I don’t want to take my small boat and go against a wave of 20 metres.
“Maybe I can go around the sides, and we’ll arrive. I’ll try to find a way. Everyone thought [Conte] was crazy when I came back. But I know my role. Cover everybody, cover the space. It is not the best position for me with the ball. Before maybe I got frustrated if my team was not controlling the offensive side, and I would lose my position.
“I would try to do it myself, which was part of the plan in Benfica. My job was to drive the ball to the halfway line. Chelsea didn’t have that plan, but sometimes I would do it anyway. But now, I know you cannot always play this way. If they don’t want me to play football, I will find space to touch the ball and try to make the difference another way. Now I manage my game.”
Luiz has impressed during his first season back in West London, starting 31 of Chelsea’s 35 league games during their run to the title.