Thiago Silva: 'I'm passionate about this club'
After picking up a new league title, the Paris Saint-Germain captain looks back on another successful season.
Thiago, you've picked up a new title winner's medal. As the team captain, what are your thoughts on the season?
"It's always important because it our primary objective. If we don't win the league or we don't finish in the top two, we can't play in the Champions League. That's why you have to win, and we're happy to have achieved that this season. Even though many people think winning seems easy when you're Paris Saint-Germain, when you go out onto the pitch, no-one gives you anything. If you don't work to win, you can't win."
Being favourites doesn't mean it's easy…
"It's like that right around Europe. When the league starts, there's always a team that starts favourites, but you don't know if they're going to win. In Italy, Juventus have won the last eight years, and no-one says anything. In England, it's the second time Manchester City have won, and people don't say anything either. We deserved to win this league. Unfortunately, we lost the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France...that's football, it's like that. You play to win, but you can lose. When you lose, you have to pick yourself up quickly to get back to winning ways."
In terms of statistics, the season has been exceptional…
"Yes, but some prefer to say that we have made a mess of the season. I usually say that Paris Saint-Germain is a young club that is going to keep growing. I've been here for seven years, and the team has improved a lot. In football, there are times when you win and others when you lose. That's the way it is. You have to overcome those difficulties. Even if people criticise our team, we have to support each other in the most difficult times. With a good attitude, always. We mustn't give importance to what people say, to what they think. We have to focus on on what we, the players, think."
The team started the season well, things gelled very quickly with the new coach. Were you surprised how quickly things got going?
"Honestly, I didn't think the start of the season was going to be that good. I remember that I arrived five days before the Trophée des Champions against Monaco in China. I had five training sessions with the team and played the game. I didn't think I'd be so close to the technical staff and coach as quickly as that. We have a very good relationship, we work very well together. The relationship between the coach and captain is important. It's great to have his trust, I like working with him."
How can the team improve for next season?
"You have to look at what works and what doesn't work. We have to keep that attitude in the league. We know nothing is easy, nothing can be taken for granted. I think we played really well during the first 14 games of the Ligue 1 season. We started very well. But in a season, there are difficult moments, like during the first game against Liverpool. But we were able to bounce back, and came back stronger. I think we didn't deserve to go out of the Champions League in that way. With all the respect I have for Manchester United, we didn't deserve to lose. But as I said, that's also football."
Personally, you had a great season. Did we see the best of Thiago Silva?
"I want to keep giving everything for this shirt. After everything the club has done for me, I feel I owe them. I'm passionate about this club. All the more so now because I have French nationality. I experience defeats like the fans do, and I try to give everything for this team. As captain, I have to motivate myself to keep improving. I think I've had a good season with the team. We had the team to win everything. We have to come back stronger next year."
There were great scenes at the Parc des Princes after the game against Dijon. How important was it to celebrate with the fans?
"Even if a lot of people were sad about the Champions League and some defeats, the title is important for the club. For me, it's always something special. When I lift the trophy, I always think about everything I've gone through to get to that moment...it's incredible."