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Thiago Silva: “I think about the World Cup a lot”

In an interview with L’Équipe, PSG captain Thiago Silva discussed his return to form following a serious injury and more.

On the process of reaching his best form again…

“After all the games, I rewatched what I had done well and what I had done not so well at home. I think I am a player of quality but I need to see things again on TV so that I can make myself better. Often, I hear very harsh things said about players. If this happens to a youngster, it can collapse them, but with my experience I am a little more tranquil when approaching these situations, to think and to work even more to get back to the top.”

On 2014…

“It was a special year, but above all it was difficult. It was a dream for all Brazilians to win the World Cup at home and we lost a semi-final against Germany 7-1. I needed to forget (this game), but it was difficult, because it is permanently in my head. Sometimes, I think it through again. It is hard, but it also gives me strength to work hard. After a match like that, if you stay at home with your head in the sand, it is impossible to come back. I think that after the World Cup and up until Christmas, I think I was in that state I have just described a little.”

On his injury…

“When you are living through a difficult period, you need to time to recuperate. Mentally I was thinking that everything was finished after the World Cup. It was very difficult. Then I had to come back to Paris to start everything over. I was thinking each day about the World Cup.”

“Then I got injured against Napoli. I made a grave mistake by playing in a friendly match, and it was even harder for me. Above all, mentally. But the club helped me a lot, the President too. Nasser often came to see me, he sent me messages, we spoke a lot. He always said: “Thiago, you are the best!” Today we speak a lot less because I don’t need it anymore (he smiles).”

On Laurent Blanc…

“I remember in a press conference on day a journalist asked him why he continued to pick me when I wasn’t playing well. The coach said: “Thiago Silva? He is the best central defender in the world!” He gave me all his confidence and he gave me the strength to come back. After scoring this goal (against Toulouse), I went over to him because just that very morning, he told me that I needed to score. During the previous match, I had two chances that I didn’t take.”

“We are doing work of a very good quality with him (Blanc). We are a unique European team still fighting on four fronts this year, it is thanks to the qualities of the technical staff. He gives a lot of attention to all the players. Remember we are playing a match basically every three days, that is difficult. Sometimes, you need to rotate the team because someone is tired. He always makes good decisions for the team or for those who need confidence.”

On the Ligue 1 title race…

“Honestly, I thought that this year would be easier than last year… But now we can see that it is much more difficult. It is important for this country that there are several teams capable of winning the league. But Marseille and Lyon are at an advantage as they don’t play in a European competition. When you are playing in 4 competitions, it pleases the players, the club, but it forces sometimes the rotation of personnel, tactical changes and that can complicate a season. But we are very confident. We will be there right until the end. We have to be because Lyon and Marseille will continue and Monaco will be there or thereabouts.”

“I hope we will be (Ligue 1 champions again). But it doesn’t just depend on us. We have already played Lyon twice and we cannot take points of them directly. In any case, we will be supporting Marseille a little bit for the next game (Lyon play Marseille at the weekend).”

On the Chelsea game…

“This is THE game of the season. The motivation for the Champions League is not the same as it is for the league. If we played all our league matches the way in which we play all our Champions League matches, we would win all of them, I think. But it is not like that…”

“I don’t know why (there is such a difference). The atmosphere, the stadiums, the tension, the opponents are different. Against Chelsea during the home game at the Parc, the atmosphere was truly very good. When the fans are like that, on the pitch, everything becomes easier. Sure, we didn’t win, but we came up against an extraordinary Courtois. I think that was the best game of our season, better than the one where we beat Barcelona in the group stages.”

“I always hear the same thing: “PSG, they have lots of good players, but they don’t ever get to the semi-finals, so they are not a good team.” It hurts to hear that. Us, the players, have experienced the difficulty associated with the Champions League. But we are going to go get it, this result, even if I have a lot of respect for Chelsea and their manager. As captain, I need to communicate that to the group. If the captain’s head is lowered, it is difficult for the others.”

“It is difficult to say… They (Chelsea) played less well compared with last year (in the first leg this year). They have quality players who can make the difference at any moment, like Diego (Costa), Hazard, Willian. That is why they are at the top of the Premier League table. We have to remain focused. They are also very good from set pieces, very dangerous, but so are we!”

On what message he has for his players ahead of this Chelsea game…

“None. Like me, they don’t need to be motivated. I can already feel in our approach our willingness to play, to be present. When I see them, I feel like the team is ready. I think that we our much stronger than last year for this type of game. Chelsea is a great team but we have the chance to go through. Last year, the home game gave us a lot of confidence. And when we went over there, the team wasn’t very focused. In my opinion w were acting as if we had already won it. Today, it is different. We need this result.”

On his preparation for big games…

“When I enter the field of play, I am completely different. With you, I am very shy, but if I am like this on the pitch, then we will lose the game. I need to be able to give confidence to others, I need to speak. And it is natural, I don’t force myself. Just before I go on the pitch, I listen to a lot of Brazilian songs, and I think about my life, when I was a little boy in Brazil… I have overcome a lot of difficulties and these images of my youth give me strength. I think about my illness, my tuberculosis in Moscow in 2005… that was a very, very difficult period for me. Every time I am having difficulty, I think about that, about my son, about my wife who have helped me so much during these sorts of moments.”

“I am a very emotional player, that is why I cried a lot during the World Cup. Because we could have written Brazilian history…”

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