Saturday 22 October 2016

Chelsea returnee David Luiz ready to play whatever position Antonio Conte tells him to

Jim van Wijk

Published 07/09/2016 | 17:21

David Luiz is back at Stamford Bridge
David Luiz is back at Stamford Bridge

David Luiz is ready to play wherever he is asked in Antonio Conte's new-look Chelsea team following a £34million deadline day move back to Stamford Bridge from Paris St Germain.

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The Brazilian, 29, has been training at Cobham this week as he settles into London life again after what was something of an unexpected return from France completed in the final hours of the window on August 31.

Luiz has traditionally been deployed as a centre-half, but provides a certain amount of versatility for Conte, who also moved to sign left-back Marcus Alonso from Fiorentina.

Cesar Azpilicueta has been filling in at left-back, and with the arrival of Alonso, should be able to move across to his preferred position on the right.

There have been suggestions Luiz could perhaps make up part of a back three with Gary Cahill, or even a shield in front of the defence when Chelsea resume domestic action at Swansea on Sunday, looking to maintain a 100% start to the new campaign.

Luiz, who left Chelsea in the summer of 2014, has no issues with whatever position he is required to fill for the team.

"I started playing three at the back with Vitoria in Brazil, but it doesn't matter where, I want to help and when I am in the team I am there to try to help," Luiz said on the club's official website,

"The coach is an amazing coach, he understands a lot of tactical things and I know he chooses every match the best line up, so if he needs to play three, four or two, it doesn't matter, I am there if he wants me to play. In different positions I am available."

Conte is confident the new signings can play an important part in the campaign ahead.

"They can improve our squad and now it is right to work with David Luiz and Marcus Alonso to put them in our idea of football," the former Italy national team coach said on Chelsea TV.

"Now we have to work on the defensive situation, on the defensive line. We have to work to improve our physical condition, our tactical condition and to try to continue our good season."

During his last spell at Chelsea, Luiz, signed from Benfica, was part of the side which won the Champions League and FA Cup in 2012, then the Europa League in the following season.

However, the Premier League title remains missing from his English honours list.

Chelsea, champions under Jose Mourinho in 2014/2015, finished 10th last season, which was a lowest league finish for some 20 years. With no European football to stretch Conte's squad, Luiz sees no reason why a sustained title assault should not be on the agenda.

"It is time to do it, and I hope it will be this year. I am working hard for that and this is our goal this season," he added. "We don't have the Champions League to fight for so for sure we will try to win the Premier League and both cups."

Conte subsequently indicated he intends to utilise Luiz at the heart of the defence. He said to Chelsea TV: "I think David Luiz is a centre-back, he's played a lot of games in that position.

"I know sometimes he's played as a central midfielder but in my mind the idea is to utilise him in the right position which, for me, is centre-back. He's played with Chelsea previously and he will bring a good personality."

The Blues boss is also hopeful Alonso's time with Bolton and Sunderland can serve him well.

"I think it's important because he's left-footed. He played in England and for that reason he has good experience of the league," Conte added.

Conte hopes Chelsea's jet-setting squad can quickly focus again on domestic matters.

He said: "After the international break it's always very tough to restart because many players don't arrive back until the end of the week, but we must quickly find our concentration and be focused because we know we play a tough game against Swansea and we want to prepare in the best way."

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