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David Luiz says he’s happier following Conte departure

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: David Luiz of Chelsea is seen during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at Stadium of Light on December 14, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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David Luiz has been given a second life at Chelsea, and the veteran is taking full advantage of his opportunity with the club.

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The Brazilian looked to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge a season ago after receiving little playing time under former manager Antonio Conte, but has since found himself a starting role with Maurizio Sarri in his back four system.

Luiz, who played a total of 10 Premier League matches in 2017/18, has already started 270 minutes in the new season alongside Antonio Rudiger in the heart of the Chelsea back line.

The 31-year-old recognizes though that he likely wouldn’t have been afforded his current opportunity had Conte stayed on as manager.

“If the manager [Conte] had stayed the same, of course, everybody knows maybe I had to move clubs,” Luiz said in a Sky Sports interview. “Now I am here and so happy.”

Luiz is currently in his third season with the Blues, after having previously left the club for a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain back in 2014.

In all, Luiz has spent seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, making him one of the longest-tenured Chelsea players in the current squad.

Despite the lack of playing time under Conte though, the skilled defender has adjusted his game enough to be able to earn himself consistent minutes on the pitch ahead of the likes of Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen.

“I think I always have to feel fresh start because I am getting old! It is amazing to play football, of course last season was not the best for me inside the pitch, but also I learned a lot outside the pitch as a person, as a man,” Luiz said. “It is always great to be on the pitch.

“I learned a lot, sometimes you have to be patient, sometimes you have to take care of your body, sometimes you have to learn from outside to be good in the future. So for me it was great.

“I got time to take care of my body; many times I was on the pitch in pain, and I never refused to play one game. It was good to rest and be fresh.”