"You know very well that Willian for us is really a very important player", Sarri told reporters after the 30-year-old Brazilian tormented relegation-threatened Newcastle.
"In my opinion, Willian has to stay with us".
Yet after scoring the victor in Chelsea's 2-1 Premier League victory over Newcastle United on Saturday, Willian dismissed speculation regarding his future. We know that we have hard games and we play against two or three of the top sides in a row.
"We scored and then controlled the last few minutes of the first half so it's a pity but a piece of quality made the difference".
Willian's second-half strike has earned Chelsea a 2-1 win over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge that strengthens their grip on fourth place in the Premier League.
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Sarri's wing options have been bolstered by the return to fitness of both Willian and Pedro from muscle injuries, but uncertainty surrounding Callum Hudson-Odoi's future makes Willian's availability all the more important.
Willian was unable to double his tally when, like Pedro before him, he was played through with a simple lofted pass, with Dubravka this time getting a touch to the attempted lob. [Callum] Hudson-Odoi is becoming for us a really important player.
Once again, Sarri stubbornly stuck to his experiment with Eden Hazard as Chelsea's central striker despite the Belgian star's dislike of the tactic.
The result leaves Chelsea just a point behind third place Tottenham, who have a game in hand, while Newcastle will end the weekend in the relegation zone. After the goal, I think we thought now it's easy, but it wasn't. We need [Hudson-Odoi]. We need Willian of course. So we need Pedro. "For us, in this moment, he is a fundamental player". After our first goal, something happened. "We have to get the points we want".
"We stopped playing for 20 minutes".