Jorginho has admitted to using the criticism he received from Chelsea fans last season as motivation for an “amazing” turnaround in his Stamford Bridge status.
The Italy international scored from the spot before Willian added a late sealer as the Blues beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 on Saturday.
Frank Lampard hailed midfielder Jorginho as a “leader” after the match and the home supporters made their new-found affection for the 27-year-old heard by chanting his name.
The adulation made for a stark change to the scorn often aimed in his direction during a difficult debut campaign in England under Maurizio Sarri, which included boos from the stands when he appeared off the bench in a Europa League game in February.
“It was amazing, because last season it was impossible,” Jorginho said.
“I’m very happy how they changed their minds about me. I worked a lot. I never said anything, I just work and work and work and the results are coming, and I am very happy with that.
“It is an opportunity to show I’m here not just for the coach [Sarri].
“It made me a little bit sad [to be booed last season] because I knew it was not like that but in my mind I just have to work hard and change their minds and [prove] they made a mistake about me.”
Hop, skip and pic.twitter.com/XPAloM4tzd
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 29, 2019
Jorginho had been tipped to follow Sarri to Juventus when the 60-year-old left London following a single season in charge.
The pair enjoyed a prosperous relationship at Napoli, but playmaker Jorginho is intent on proving his value is not tied to the Italian.
“I’m thankful for what we did together because it was amazing,” he said of playing under Sarri.
“We worked for four years together and I’m very thankful for what I learned from him.
“But I’m here also for my quality, but the people could not see that last season.”
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