Thiago Silva: 'Atmosphere within squad is amazing'
Thiago Silva, the Paris Saint-Germain skipper, has a point to prove against Marseille on Sunday after losing his place in the side to Presnel Kimpembe against Real Madrid. Interview…
The Brazilian told This is Paris: "The second half of the season is always difficult. Every match is tough and very often a must-win. But we are on a good run at the moment. We need to keep working calmly, match after match and not only focus on Real Madrid."
Twelve points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 Conforama table, there is a weight of expectation on the leaders heading into the back-to-back clashes with OM, first in the league and then in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France.
"Normal there's always pressure"
Thiago Silva said: "It's normal that there's always pressure when you play for Paris Saint-Germain. Every match we play, there is pressure on us to win, as even when we're up against very good opponents we have to win. But we also know it's not easy every match and having a winning mentality is very important. Every player here at PSG has that mentality, feels that pressure to win. That's fine, because when you wear this shirt, you want that responsibility."
At the club since 2012, the former AC Milan defender moved to quash speculation concerning rifts within the PSG camp: "I heard a lot of talk in the media that there are problems within the Paris Saint-Germain squad. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that talk around the squad has no impact at all. The atmosphere within the squad is amazing. I think things go so well on the pitch, because we all respect each other so much off the pitch."
"I have two more years to play"
This season, Thiago Silva is sharing the playing time in the centre of defence with Marquinhos and Kimpembe and despite missing the game at the Bernabeu, the Brazilian insists the rivalry is healthy. He said: "I try to help all the time. I have more experience, I've played more big games so I give advice, but that's not all. The quality is there! Presco always gives everything in training. He has improved greatly over the last two or three years. It's not easy for a young defender to progress like he has done. Presco has really shown a huge potential and I’m happy for him. I'm also an example for Marquinhos as well so I just have to keep working hard and keep helping both of them as much as I can. The rivalry, the competition for places, that's all part of football. I'm 33 years old, I have two more years to play, then it will those two who take the reins and lead the team forward."
Skipper praises Lo Celso
Silva is also enjoying the performances of another young player. Giovani Lo Celso may have struggled at Real Madrid but the young Argentine is finding his feet in Ligue 1 – scoring a memorable first goal earlier this month. Thiago Silva commented: "That first goal in Ligue 1 was just magnificent. He is a player that has the technique to score goals like that. He tried it in a few matches before that, but the goalkeepers always saved the shots. There, he tried it again and it was really special. He could have passed the ball to Neymar, or gone for power, but he decided to try the little chip. It was an awesome goal and behind him we could see it was going in as soon as it left his boot.
"I'm really happy for him because he has been playing in a new position, he gives everything for the team and he wins back a lot of ball. When you see a very skilful player like Gio, you aren't sure they want to go in to win the ball or mark other players, but just like (Julian) Draxler he's a player with enormous technical quality, but are also prepared to work hard for the good of the team. That’s very important for us."