Willian sent blunt message about Chelsea future under Antonio Conte

Ray Wilkins tells Willian to be patient at Chelsea amid uncertainty about his future

Chelsea forward Willian Photo: Sure

Willian has to accept that he won’t be an automatic start at Chelsea under Antonio Conte, Ray Wilkins has claimed.

The Brazil international was voted Chelsea’s best player in the 2015-16 season in an otherwise difficult campaign for the defending Premier League champions under Jose Mourinho and then Guus Hiddink.

Chelsea opted to appoint former Italy and Juventus manager Antonio Conte as Mourinho’s permanent successor in May 2016.

The Italian coach relied heavily on Spanish winger Pedro Rodriguez ahead of Willian as the South American found his first-team opportunities limited in the 2016-17 season.

Indeed, Willian scored eight goals and made two assists in 15 starts and 19 substitute appearances as Chelsea won the Premier League title in their first season under Conte.

The 29-year-old’s fortunes haven’t improved this season with Willian being limited to seven starts and seven appearances from the bench.

The Chelsea attacker has been linked with a potential move to Manchester United just months after Nemanja Matic completed a controversial transfer to Old Trafford.

La Liga giants Barcelona are also thought to be weighing up a move for Willian should the Catalan side fail in their attempts to sign Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.

But former Chelsea assistant manager Wilkins believes Willian should dig in at Stamford Bridge and fight for a first-team spot.

“Willian has to get over the fact he’s not playing,” Wilkins told sportingbet.

“As long as he performs when he gets on the pitch, he’ll get more opportunities.”

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