Cape Town - At 34, veteran
centre-back Thiago Silva has re-emerged this season as the pillar of the
Paris Saint-Germain defence as the French champions prepare for an
assault in Europe.
The PSG captain spoke to AFP in Qatar as his
side prepares for a second half of the season in which they will resume
their campaign for a long-coveted first Champions League trophy with a
last-16 tie against resurgent Manchester United.
"I think I've already enjoyed some good times in my
career," he said, when asked about his form this season. "But at this
age it is better. You always have quality, and time gives you the
experience. When you put the two things together, you go up a level."
Silva was one of the scapegoats in 2017 when PSG blew a 4-0 first-leg
lead in second round against Barcelona, collapsing 6-1 as they conceded
three times after the 88th minute.
"I heard a lot of things: 'I'm
not a leader, I'm not this or that'," he said. "It wounds you, but after
that it's also the kind of thing that motivates you the most."
Playing for Tuchel
The Brazilian's refound form has come after Thomas Tuchel replaced Unai Emery as coach.
"He's given me the tranquility to play."
tries to solve problems as quickly as possible and he talks to me to
discover the best solution," he said, adding that Tuchel involves him in
"That's something I've never felt before, so I'm giving something extra."
He pointed to a 3-0 victory away to 10-man Amiens in Ligue 1 at the start of December.
"Against Amiens, I played
for him," he said. "He suggested that I play just 45 minutes, but at
the end of the first half, the score was still 0-0. I could not leave my
team in that position just so I could have a rest for upcoming matches.
I told him 'I'll play to the end.' When the team needs me, I'm there."
Thiago Silva agreed with suggestions that this might be the strongest PSG team since he arrived in 2012.
"It's not only the players but the way we play," he said. "We're playing more as a team."
Silva said that Tuchel's direct and open approach to players helped
explain the improved productivity of the team in general and Neymar in
"He (Neymar) has understood, as everybody has understood, because these are things that you tell him to his face," he said.
is to say things to your face and the coach does it very well, he is
very strong on the technical part but especially on off-field matters,
managing those who are not playing. He tries to motivate everyone to be
ready. That's the difference."