BY PAUL LAGAN
Jorginho, once the focus of the Chelsea boo-boys, is now lauded as a hero among the Stamford Bridge goers and social-media keyboard warriors.
Without the albatross around his neck, that was the controversial head coach Maurizio Sarri, Jorginho has been unleashed to perform on the pitch in a way unseen last season.
He knows it, too, and he was sad about how things developed last year.
He said of the fans now singing his name: “It’s amazing. Last season it was impossible. I am happy they have changed their minds about me. I didn’t say anything about it, I just worked hard on my game.
“I’m happy that (last season) is gone. It’s an opportunity for me now to show the fans, not just the coach (what I can do).
“I am happy for what Sarri and me did together – it was amazing. We worked together for four years. I am grateful for what I learned from him.
“But I am here for my quality and how much I work. I always work hard – (perhaps last season) people could not see that.
“I felt sad. I knew it was not like that, but in my mind, I just said to myself ‘I just need to work hard, to make them change their mind’.”
Chelsea faced Lille last night in the Champions League before the London Weekly News went to press, but the Brazil-born, Italian international is aware that another potential banana skin awaits them, like the home defeat to Valencia, if they are not focused.
He said: “We need a result. Every Champions League game is very difficult. We are ready to go anywhere and win. We need it.
“It’s important to take our chances when they come. We won’t create as many as we did against Brighton on Saturday.
“Against Valencia we made a mistake, they have one chance and they scored – we need more mentality in defence.
“For the young players it’s a new experience. They are very good, they (just) have to believe in themselves.”
Frank Lampard has changed the way the Blues are playing, from the short, sideways passing under Sarri that bored so many fans.
Jorginho said: “Yes, we are playing more long balls, (making) more runs, (playing) less short passes.
But the mentality is the same – to press and control the match – I’m there to control the team, not to get forward too much.
“I try to do what the coach wants. I can adapt.
“Frank wants more forward play. Yes, it’s simple.”
Of his own game, not too much has changed. Lampard cites him as a leader on and off the pitch, but he has always felt that.
“Actually it’s not new,” he said.
“I was always like this. Nobody talked about it before Frank said it. I always try to help my mates.”
Jorginho scored a penalty as the Blues secured their first home league win of the season in a 2-0 win, and is now the designated spot-kick taker.
“There was no pressure (on me),” he said. I was very focused and concentrated. Tammy came up to me and said ‘Are you taking the penalty?’ I said yes. He said ‘okay’. I just looked at the goalkeeper.
He didn’t move , so I shot (into the corner).”
Chelsea are away in the league to Southampton on Sunday. Kick-off is at 2pm.