Thiago Motta: 'We're enjoying ourselves'
Thiago, what do you make of the team's start to the season?
"It's good. It's promising, as we have won a lot of matches. The match against Montpellier was complicated, but we still came away from it with a point (0-0). Starting the season this way is good, but it's only the beginning."
Your role in the team seems to be as important as ever…
"Not bad for an old man (laughs)! I'm lucky, because I play in a team that keeps possession. I think that's our biggest strength. Being in the middle, I find myself at the centre of the team and so I see a lot of the ball. Adrien (Rabiot), Marco (Verratti) and I see a lot of the ball, so the midfield is very important. We're enjoying ourselves and we're playing well. Once we lose possession, our strong organisational sense allows us to press effectively. But we can also play on the counter; Neymar and Mbappé have the qualities for that. So we can alternate between possession play and counter-attacks. You have to choose the most effective option as a function of each individual match."
The counter-attacking style worked well against Bayern Munich (3-0)…
"Yes, very well. Up front, we have three players who are fast and can make the difference at any point. The midfield and defence need to give the team balance, win back the ball and get it quickly to the forwards. Against Bayern, we did it very well. I'm persuaded that it will happen a lot, especially in the Champions League."
You were injured and had to watch from the stands as your team beat Bordeaux 6-2. What did you think?
"We played really well, especially in the first half. We played at a very high level and opened the scoring quickly. That opened the match up; Bordeaux had to push forward to try to get a result. We made the most of the spaces they left open. With the quality of player we have in midfield and attack, we created a lot of chances and scored a lot of goals. It was a great match."
Are you impressed by your team's forwards?
"I wouldn't say impressed. Before we had the players who arrived over the summer, we already had Edi (Cavani), Angel (Di Maria), Julian (Draxler), Flaco (Pastore)… Today, with the additions of Neymar and Mbappé, the club raised the teams level in attack that much more. We're happy to have this kind of players in our ranks. They have brought us a lot in attack. For us, the midfielders, it just gets easier to do our job."
Due to the international break, a lot of players are on national-team duty. Does that make it tough to get ready for the next club match?
"It's difficult, but we're used to it. It's a bit more complicated for the South Americans, who have long journeys… but they're used to it as well. They are very professional; they rest after the match and recover quickly. It doesn't cause any problems, even though Dijon have two weeks to think long and hard about how to prepare for the match against Paris Saint-Germain. That's part of the job. I hope that our internationals win and, above all, avoid injury so they can come back to Paris and get ready for this match against Dijon, which will be the first match of a long run. We need to be ready, as it's an important moment in the season. We started well, but we need to continue."