Fresh from the end of a long campaign, Thiago Silva gives his verdict on Chelsea’s season and explains why his relationship with the fans makes him determined to win more trophies with the Blues in the future.

Speaking to the official Chelsea matchday programme for our last game of 2021/22 against Watford, the defender looked back over a year of mixed fortunes, as we won the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup while securing Champions League qualification, but lost the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals on penalties and dropped out of Premier League title contention in the second half of the campaign.

‘In general, it was a good season – not excellent,’ said Thiago Silva. ‘We were in the top three and over the course of the campaign we had a couple of cup successes and we lost a couple of cup finals. It’s not what we wanted, but it was okay.

It seems to have been a campaign which has left the defender with mixed feelings, underlined by those two domestic cup final defeats to Liverpool being settled by the finest of margins, going all the way to penalties on both occasions at Wembley.

‘It’s the small details. When you look at it, if we had won those two penalty shoot-outs, it would have been an excellent season instead of a good season because you always remember those who win. Liverpool won the two penalty shoot-outs and it was an excellent season for them.

‘If it had been the other way, it would not have been quite so good for them and it would have been a great season for us because we would have been celebrating winning four competitions instead of two. But it’s what people remember – and those small margins are what make the difference that win you competitions.’

The evergreen Thiago Silva certainly did all he could to make our season a success as his form continued to make a mockery of the fact he is in the latter stages of his career at the age of 37, standing out as an example to those who hope to play football into their late 30s, although he admits it takes plenty of dedication to keep performing at the top.

‘It’s about discipline, especially at my age. Playing at such a high level requires a lot of discipline, from controlling how you eat to how you recover. It’s all very important. I know it’s been a long season but I feel good, I feel happy for the season that I’ve had.

‘I feel happy to be a reference or an inspiration to other people, for the youngsters that are now starting to play, and can look and see how far into their lives they could play – until 38 or 39. I feel happy to be able to be playing at this age and know that it can be an inspiration to others.’

With no signs that the Brazilian’s powers are waning he signed a contract extension to keep him at Chelsea for a third season, having initially joined on a one-year deal, and sees no reason why his time at Stamford Bridge couldn’t go beyond 2022/23, with a big target still to be achieved here.

‘You come for one season and you don’t know what’s going to happen because people look at you and maybe have a few doubts because of your age. But I was happy to accept for a second season and now a third – and who knows, maybe even a fourth after that!

‘The Premier League is a dream, something that I crave. All the national leagues I’ve played in before, I’ve won, and the Premier League is no different in my eyes – it’s something I really want to win.

‘Obviously, we won the Champions League last season, and now I have the Premier League in mind. That’s not discarding the Champions League, or any other competition in any way, but the Premier League is the one I really want to win.’

It is not just that outstanding goal of lifting the Premier League trophy that makes Thiago Silva so keen to continue competing at the top with Chelsea, though. He says the appreciation and passion he feels from the Blues supporters, in addition to being settled in London with his family, provides the perfect platform and motivation to perform at his best.

‘I’m happy here, my family is happy and that helps a lot because when things go well outside of the pitch, it can only go well on the pitch as well,’ he added. ‘We play well when we feel at home and I feel well in London, I feel at home. Even when I first came and we had no supporters inside the stadium, I felt the love from the fans on social media and that goes a long way.

‘It is special, very special, when you receive the love of the fans. I was lucky to receive that love from the fans at all the clubs I’ve been to, from Fluminense, to Milan and Paris, and now here.

‘As a professional, you just want to work hard and do your best. As a child, all I wanted to do was play football, and then to be appreciated as you play the game is indescribable. Feeling the love of the fans while you’re on the pitch makes me feel very proud because it seems so simple what we do.

‘When you compare it with the work of a doctor, for example, who is there to save lives, and people show appreciation for what they do. Then I’m doing my job, playing football and receiving appreciation, and it’s difficult to compare that. But I appreciate the love very much and it makes me proud, although it’s hard to describe that feeling – you have to be there in that situation to understand how it feels.’