Thiago Silva on playing with Chalobah, being a fan of James and preparing for Ronaldo

As the most experienced player in the Chelsea squad with a highly successful career across many nations to his name, everyone is keen to hear the opinion of Thiago Silva, especially when it comes to defending.

Ahead of today’s meeting with Manchester United, the 37-year-old has been giving his views on a fellow centre-back, the freshest addition to the Chelsea backline, plus another Chelsea Academy product earning rave reviews. He has also discussed what it is like facing the world’s great attackers.

Trevoh Chalobah is making his name in the Premier League and the Champions League this season, able to lean on the nearby experience of Thiago Silva who has been watching closely.

‘He is a player despite being so young who plays like an experienced professional,’ says the Brazilian, ‘and that makes me really happy because I'm there alongside him playing the same position and I can see how he's performing, how he's developing.

‘Not just anybody can do this, can step up to a team like Chelsea and perform and he's not doing it because of my help, he's doing it because of his own abilities. He is a player who I knew from France where he was playing at a lower level for Lorient and he's made the step up and he's playing here because he deserves to.

‘Some people said that he didn't have the ability to do so but he's made it because of his own capacities. That's something that makes me really happy because a player like Trevoh Chalobah is the future of this club.’

Though playing just as much as an attacking player as a defensive one this season, Reece James is another who has caught the Thiago Silva eye.

‘I'm probably the right person to ask about Reece James as I'm a massive fan of his,’ he says.

‘He may be young but the way he plays you think he's been playing over 10 years in Chelsea with over 100 caps for England. He is someone who plays with such personality and great physical strength, but also great strength beyond that, and when you put it all together you've got yourself an exceptional player.

‘That's something he's showing at the moment but he's still someone who could improve because he's young and with experience, he's going to learn even more to become a real world-class talent.’

Of a similar age and veterans of many Champions League games, Thiago Silva and Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo have faced each other prior to today’s encounter, but that does not mean the Chelsea man knows what to expect from his revered rival.

‘When you look at the players of that level and talk about Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, De Bruyne, then you can play against them 10 or 20 times, it doesn't matter how many times, they are players who are so unpredictable.

‘They always do something that means it's impossible to prepare to stop them, so I just hope that for this game the team prepares well and comes together collectively to stop United’s best players and that's not just Ronaldo, because Ronaldo doesn't play on his own. He's always well served by Bruno Fernandes and others on that team so if we prepare well and understand if we stop those players who are serving Ronaldo then we'll be able to stop Ronaldo himself, that's the best way to prepare for this game.’

There is no doubt in Thiago Silva’s mind that Thomas Tuchel will have given that plenty of thought, as well as working out how to hurt Man U.

‘He’s a manager who works really hard, particularly on the tactical side, thinking about attacking shapes. He's someone who always thinks about winning so in order to do that he needs to think about different attacking plans to put in place out on the pitch.

‘It's interesting to see because the way he prepares us we put into practice everything that we train with him, and at the moment it's all coming off. It's unbelievable all that he's putting in place to make sure that we're in the best condition to win.’

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