Tottenham legend revels in performance of ‘wonderful’ Chelsea star

Tottenham Hotspur legend and BBC pundit Garth Crooks has praised Chelsea star Willian for his performance in the Blues’ 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday, naming him in his team of the week.

The Brazilian was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up in place of one of the players of the season – Eden Hazard, who was rested – in a move that may have worried supporters of the west London outfit, but he repaid the faith that was shown in him by manager Antonio Conte.

Opening the scoring with brilliant free-kick in the fifth minute, the attacker then gave his side the lead again after showing great composure with a 43rd minute penalty to put his team back in control of the game.

The 28-year-old has found a spot in the starting XI hard to come by since Conte reverted to a 3-4-3 formation in October, but Crooks was certainly impressed with his showing at the weekend.

The 59-year-old told BBC Football: “The Brazilian is a wonderful player and produced one of the performances of the season. His free-kick was absolutely superb and unlike my Match of the Day colleagues, I didn’t think that Hugo Lloris was at fault for the goal.

“This was a wonderful performance by a wonderful player and we were wrong to doubt him. Conte didn’t.”

Chelsea and Willian will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to Manchester United last weekend and increase their four-point advantage over second-placed Tottenham in the Premier League when they host Southampton on Tuesday night.