Chelsea winger Willian is loving life at Chelsea, even if he's not scoring as many goals as he would like.
The Brazilian has just a single goal this season and has found himself in and out of the team with Jose Mourinho rotating between him, Andre Schurrle and Ramires, if the Portuguese opts for a more defensive line-up.
But Willian, 26, says scoring more is something that he is always looking to try and improve.
“I’m always looking to improve every part of my game because I can never stop for one second and think that I am good enough and that I don’t need to try and improve,” Willian told Chelsea magazine. “So, every training session I am trying to make sure I’m a better player.
“One thing I have in my mind is to score more goals – I am desperate to get on the scoresheet more often. Sometimes the situation of the game means I am not able to get into the right positions, but it’s one thing that is definitely at the back of my mind.
“Mr Mourinho has told me this before. He knows, and I know, that I should get more goals. I’m very happy with my all round game and my form so far this season, but I’ll be a lot happier if I am scoring more goals. That would be good for the team as well.”
The former Shakthar Donetsk and Anzhi Makhachkala winger, bought for £30m last summer, says his time in the Ukraine "toughened me up".
The quick winger, a willing worker with brilliant dribbling skills learnt his trade on dirt pitches in the small city of Ribeirão Pires, in Sao Paulo state.
“We played on the streets every single day,” he said. “To be honest, we didn’t notice the difficulties of the bumpy surface because we didn’t get to play on grass very often. For us, that was what we were used to.
“We’d create our goalposts using whatever we could, it didn’t require much thought – flip-flops or maybe building bricks were most common. We’d always find a solution; we were just happy to be able to go out and play football with friends and neighbours.
“It was a lot of fun, although there were always arguments – but what I would call arguments between friends. Just silly, petty stuff, but the kind of thing that happens when you all want to win. I wasn’t involved in too many of them because, as much as I love to win, I don’t like to fight or argue.”
He moved to the club at 19, an age when many other young Brazilians head to Europe, but for more established leagues in Italy, Spain and Germany.
“[Moving to Europe] wasn’t really something I had thought I would do at that age – and certainly not to go somewhere which didn’t have one of the major leagues,” he adds. “My dad, who was managing my things at that time, wanted me to go to Italy, Spain or England.
“Shakhtar Donetsk were very keen to sign me and invited me over. They convinced me and I’m really happy with the decision I made.
“I think it makes me appreciate every day at Chelsea – it makes you stronger if you have an experience like the one I had at the age of 19. I am a stronger man because of it and it’s something I will always carry with me.”
The Ukrainian winters also make the British ones seem like a breeze.
“The winters were very, very, very cold. Sometimes Oscar and Ramires will be talking and I’ll hear them say, ‘Today, it’s so cold’, and I’ll stop them. ‘Man, are you crazy? This is nothing, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve been to Ukraine!’ It helped toughen me up, that’s for sure.”
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