David Luiz is enjoying a new lease of life at Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri and concedes he might no longer be at Stamford Bridge if Antonio Conte was still in charge.
The Brazil international defender was a key figure in the Blues’ 2016-17 Premier League title triumph but found himself out in the cold last season as injuries struck and his relationship with Conte soured.
He is back in the starting XI under Sarri, despite the former Napoli boss operating with a back four many felt would not play to the 31-year-old’s strengths.
“It is amazing to play football, of course last season was not the best for me inside the pitch, but also I learned a lot outside the pitch as a person, as a man,” he told Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea’s Sunday trip to Newcastle United, where they will look to make it three top-flight wins out of three this season.
“Sometimes you have to be patient, sometimes you have to take care of your body, sometimes you have to learn from outside to be good in the future.
“I got time to take care of my body; many times I was on the pitch in pain, and I never refused to play one game. It was good to rest and be fresh.
“If the manager had stayed the same, of course, everybody knows maybe I had to move clubs. Now I am here and so happy.”
Sarri has brought his famed passing, high-tempo and high-pressing style to Chelsea, marking a clear contrast to the Conte era.
“I think every coach comes with new stuff to improve and help us and, of course, Sarri has already taught me many things I never saw before,” David Luiz explained.
“He just gives to you [the public] five per cent of the idea, he’s not going to give you 100 per cent of the idea. One of the parts of the idea is to focus on the ball and different parts of the pitch, you have to understand the movement.
“I think we are in the beginning. With everybody it takes time but we’ve already played two games and got six points.”