Chelsea reluctant to part with Willian amid Barcelona links

Chelsea predicted XI GFX

Maurizio Sarri's men would pay for their failure to create anything clear cut, though, as Newcastle soon started to grow into the match.

Barcelona made a concerted effort to sign Willian in the summer, and sources close to the player have told ESPN FC that he believes they remain interested.

With Chelsea fans beginning to lose patience at their team's latest spluttering home display, Willian lifted the mood in the nick of time with his superb second-half curler.

Even though Chelsea breezed past Newcastle 2-1 on Saturday bossMaurizio Sarri says he needs replacements in midfield if they are to keep up their push for the last automatic Champions League spot in the Premier League.

The 30-year-old showed his value to Chelsea by scoring his side's victor against Newcastle to give Blues a six-point cushion over fifth-placed Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification.

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Willian said his future is at Chelsea as he brushed off fresh reports linking him with a move to Barcelona.

Willian was unable to double his tally when, like Pedro before him, he was played through with a simple lofted pass, with Dubravka this time getting a touch to the attempted lob. To be fair we can not complain about what the players were doing on the pitch. With Eden as a striker we need wingers so we need Pedro and Hudson-Odoi. We need [Hudson-Odoi]. We need Willian of course. We need to improve in the mental reaction because after the first goal something happened.

The Blues boss said: "After the goal I think we thought "now it's easy", but it wasn't. For us, in this moment, he is a fundamental player".

Newcastle find themselves in the relegation zone as a result of wins for Southampton and Burnley and another winter of discontent is brewing for the Magpies. It was only Willian's fifth goal of a disappointing season and the Brazilian's first in the league since October. "We have to get the points we want". We stopped [playing] for 25 minutes.

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