As he approaches his three-year anniversary as a Chelsea player, David Luiz can look back on his time at Stamford Bridge so far with great pride, but, for now, his immediate concern is ensuring we secure the result against Manchester United on Sunday that would keep us well placed to challenge for the title.
Jose Mourinho’s side entertain the champions at Stamford Bridge with the Blues, buoyed by a sequence of results which has seen us win five of our last six Barclays Premier League matches, looking to extend our lead over David Moyes’s side to 12 points.
‘It’s a big game for us and I think it’s a great moment for us to be playing against a big club,’ David Luiz tells the official Chelsea website.
‘We’ve improved a lot recently and we have been very solid, the last few results show that. Last week we played away against Hull City, who are a strong team, and it was difficult. Manchester United had a tough game there and Liverpool lost, so it was great for us to come through it. Sunday’s game is another important one and we need to win.’
Man United, so often renowned for their consistency and ability to grind out results, have endured a difficult first half of the season, but away from home in the league they are unbeaten in seven.
David Luiz acknowledges the difficulties change can bring, but feels they are still more than capable of producing the goods when it really matters.
‘It’s natural, when you have a transition and there is a new philosophy that’s what happens,’ he says.
‘They had Sir Alex Ferguson in charge for a long time, now they have Moyes who is a fantastic coach as well, but sometimes you need time to adapt.
‘They are still a very dangerous team with big players and it certainly won’t be an easy game. We all know their history and we know about the quality players they have, so we will need to work hard, like we’ve been doing in training all week, and make sure we get the three points. You need to win the games at home if you want to win the title.’
Two of our last three Premier League games have seen the Brazilian, for the first time this season, deployed in a deep-lying midfield role alongside his compatriot Ramires.
The game against Liverpool saw the 26-year-old supply the initial pass which led to our winning goal, while at Hull he produced another accomplished display, providing John Terry and Gary Cahill with adequate protection when required but also affecting the game further forward with his ability on the ball.
‘Last year I learnt a lot about playing in a midfield position and now, when I need to play there, it comes naturally,’ he explains. ‘It’s easier for me to adapt and when you have help from the players around you, like I do, it makes it much easier for me.
‘I enjoy playing football for Chelsea. I’m happy to play in midfield, defence or wherever the manager needs me.’
It was on the final day of the January transfer window in 2011 that David Luiz completed his move to Stamford Bridge, before going on to make his debut three days later as a late substitute in a home game against Liverpool.
It’s been an eventful time in west London for the former Benfica man, a period which has seen him add three trophies to his cabinet, play under five different managers and establish himself as an integral member of the Chelsea squad.
‘When I moved here it was because I wanted a new project in my career; I left Benfica because I was thinking about playing in a different league,’ he recalls. ‘I’m happy because in the three years I’ve been here I’ve won two European trophies and the FA Cup.
‘Of course, I want to win the Premier League as well because it’s the most difficult league in the world and many teams can win it.
‘I’m happy with everything I’ve achieved since I came here, before I came Chelsea had never won the Champions League and so I’m part of that history.’
With the interview drawing to a close, the player is reminded of his first Chelsea goal, a memory which brings a smile to his face as he reflects.
‘My first goal for the club was in a 2-1 win against United and I’ve scored three against them in total.
‘I have some great memories from playing against them and I hope on Sunday, if I play, I can score again if I have an opportunity or help my team-mates to score.’
– You can listen to the game live wherever you may be on Chelsea TV and this website.