Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on the performance of Willian for Chelsea during their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
The Portuguese pinched Willian from under the noses of Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 and has since expressed interest in bringing him to Old Trafford.
And you could see why: the Brazilian was an ebullient presence on the ball, skipping and sliding around challenges all game and superbly rounding off a counter-attack he started on the edge of his own box.
Speaking to ESPN Brazil, Mourinho was quick to laud the performance of a player he once used to use so effectively.
“Do you want to talk about Willian? Top, cream of the crop, he’s amazing,” he said. “In his national team there’s no bad players. The Brazil manager is really good with huge club experience. You guys will do great things in Russia [at the World Cup].”
The only visiting player to consistently trouble United players was Willian – a player often overshadowed by the more explosive Eden Hazard but, in many respects, just valuable for his mazy movement on and off the ball.
He buzzed around the pitch with a sense of freedom that no other Chelsea player could muster, popping up in pockets of space and swerving round challenges in a truly ‘Jogo Bonito’ kind of way, as if unburdened, loquacious, naturally languid and in tune with the forces around him.
Even with 93 minutes on the clock he brought the ball forward and earned Chelsea a corner, but there is only so much one player can do in a team sport, and the champions, now outside the Champions League spots, had already given up.