Willian admits it is “a bit weird” to be playing under former team-mate Frank Lampard at Chelsea but always knew he had the qualities to be a manager.
The pair played together for one season at Stamford Bridge after Willian joined Chelsea in 2013, with Lampard returning to west London in the summer after a debut season as manager at Derby.
While Willian admits it is strange to be coached by his former team-mate, he is not surprised Lampard has taken the step into management and insisted his recent good form can be attributed to the 41-year-old.
“He was an intelligent player, one of the best in his position,” Willian told the club’s website. “A quality player. When you see players like him you can say maybe in the future he can become a manager, and he’s here with us!
“It’s a bit weird he is my boss now, but I am very happy to work with him again. He has given me the confidence to play. He wants me to be happy. A part of the performances I have had in the past couple of games I have to dedicate to him.
“He always says to me ‘I want you to be happy’. That’s why I have been playing like I have been.”
Lampard endured a mixed start to life as Chelsea boss, including a 4-0 opening day defeat to Manchester United, but he has won plaudits for his reliance on academy players.
Chelsea are up to fifth in the Premier League after back-to-back wins and Willian has praised the “freedom” Lampard offers his players.
“I think our style of play has helped me, but not only that,” he said. “The freedom he gives to us is important as well. I don’t have to stay on the right side. I can move around, I can move between the lines, I can move to the left side as well.