Dennis Wise believes that Jorginho has been “absolutely outstanding” for Chelsea and believes that his relationship with manager Maurizio Sarri will be key to the Blues’ future success.
Wise, who is a former Chelsea captain, has been watching the Italy international closely, having travelled to some of the club’s pre-season games ahead of the new campaign.
Since arriving at Stamford Bridge along with Maurizio Sarri from Napoli, Jorginho has made an immediate impact and netted a debut penalty, as Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners on the opening day of the season against Huddersfield Town.
“I like the boy [Sarri] has brought in, Jorginho, I think he has been absolutely outstanding,” Wise told Goal in an exclusive interview.
“I have watched him and how he covered holes, how he pressed and he dictates to his team-mates as he wants them to do certain things.
What can we expect from Chelsea this season? 🤔@NizaarKinsella talks exclusively to @denniswise about Maurizio Sarri’s demanding football, the ‘outstanding’ Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) and how important Jorginho is to his new team! pic.twitter.com/fkDGtVrA0q
— Goal (@goal) 16 August 2018
“I think by bringing in Jorginho, you bring in someone who knows Sarri very well and how he plays and what he wants to do.
“When you have someone right in the middle of that midfield who understands how the manager plays and dictates that to everyone, I think it is really helpful and he has so much quality as well.
“I think he has given the ball away once over the whole pre-season. I am actually looking forward to seeing him progress over the course of this season.”
Wise, who ranks seventh in the all-time top appearance makers for Chelsea with 445 matches under his belt, continues to maintain a close relationship with his former club and he has been impressed with the speed at which Sarri has imprinted his ideology since joining from Napoli just over a month ago.
“I think he had only been with them for 21 days [before the Community Shield game against Man City], so it is a short period that he has been in charge,” Wise said. “He has had to change the system from a 3-4-3 to a 4-3-3 now and they have worked on it in an impressive manner, having watched them against Arsenal [in pre-season].
“I think in that first half they played very, very well. I was impressed with the way they were set up and they haven’t had all their personnel throughout pre-season, so probably the team that starts in each game might not stay the same to begin with.
“After a couple of games into the start of the season you will see a couple of players coming back into it. What I see, in terms of the way they play, they press very, very high. They want the ball constantly and they want to control the game.
“It is different from Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, who were more counter-attacking in their football. I think Maurizio wants to play on the front foot. That’s important for him, he wants to press teams high. It is difficult because the work rate, you have to keep up.
“He did it at Napoli and it worked extremely well, so I am looking forward to actually seeing him do that because I think it is going to be very exciting to see Chelsea on the front foot and passing it around teams.”
According to Wise, reigning champions Manchester City are still the team to beat in the Premier League this season, while Liverpool are also expected to mount a challenge, but Wise is hopeful that Chelsea can close the gap and be the “surprise package”.
“I think everyone is looking at Man City, they had 100 points last season. Nineteen points ahead of Man United and 30 points ahead of Chelsea so that’s a big gulf to catch up,” continued the 51-year-old. “They have done it in such a commanding way, that you have to catch them.
“We are hoping that a little bit of complacency creeps in [at Man City]. You look at Chelsea, they did very well when Antonio Conte came in for his first season and won the league. I don’t think anyone expected that to happen.
“I think the expectations at Chelsea this year is people are not expecting them to win the league. What you need to do is to see how it pans out. I think it could be quite interesting because Chelsea have a lot of quality players but they never hit it off.
“Whether that was internal or inside the dressing room, who knows, but now there is a fresh start. They could be a surprise package again, Chelsea. Everyone is expecting Man City to win it and Liverpool to press them because of the amount of money that they have spent.
“Liverpool plugged gaps where they needed and I think they have really spent well but now the expectations are there as well. So they have to live with those expectations. I think those are the two teams that people will be looking at, Man City and Liverpool.
“Hopefully Chelsea can creep in through the back door because no one is expecting that to happen.”
Wise’s former team-mate Gianfranco Zola now works as an assistant to Sarri and will be welcomed back at Stamford Bridge on Saturday night.
The Italian legend played a key role in championing Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has now been offered a new five-year deal by Chelsea, and Wise hopes that the youngster stays with his boyhood club.
“I think Hudson-Odoi has been outstanding,” said Wise. “I think it is good he has had the opportunity. He is a local boy and I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of him and him competing against players in that position.
“I think he is capable to go and do it. I think he gave Hector Bellerin a torrid time in Dublin and in his performance against Inter at times.”
Wise was speaking at the 2018 FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, celebrating grassroots heroes across England. Find out more: www.mcdonalds.co.uk/grassroots