How much of an advantage do you have playing at home when others haven’t been able to?
First of all, it’s good to play at home on a pitch we know. Without the fans and everything, for me it doesn’t matter if the game is here or somewhere else, but it’s nice to be here and to go in a game like this we have to know that the job is not done and we have to do more to do.
We cannot sit back and think ‘we can play out a 1-1 or something like this’. No, no, no. This top, top class football and we know we have to do more than that.”
First leg, Chelsea fans enjoyed your square up with Luis Suarez. Wary of revenge?
At the end of the day this is not something that gives me a boost or something like this. He defends his patch, I defend mine. This is all, this is all. I go with no feeling any pressure of his revenge or anything like this.
I am just focussed on our targets and that is to win the game and get through, because Atletico is not only Luis Suarez.
Can you see yourself signing a new contract at Chelsea?
At the end of the day, everyone, me and the club know how much I like this club and everything so it’s down to people who make these types of decisions, but, at the moment for me, it’s to concentrate on important matches and targets. The rest, I think I’m sure we will resolve it.
How hard is it do defend against Suarez?
Honestly, he’s a world-class player. He’s showed it at every club he has been in Europe, Liverpool, Barcelona, Ajax, now Atletico. He’s a very, very good player and he has a lot of fight in him and obviously he’s a top opponent.
He just defends his badge by trying to fight for his team.
Have you spoken to Timo Werner about his struggles this season?
Yes of course we have conversations, but it’s like more conversations to keep him going, to help him and to assist him. It’s normal, it’s his first year away from Germany and things are not going maybe the way he wants because he’s a goalscorer and he wants to score goals and things are not coming in his way at the moment.
But for me, it’s important to just always let him know that someone is there for him to help him, to assist him. I’m very, very sure going to this game tomorrow, sometimes small moments like this, especially in a game like that, can turnover everything for a striker and give him a real boost. It’s like this sometimes in life, things are sometimes not going your way and you have to fight through it.
What he is also doing, working and running a lot, I’m very sure things will go in his way.”
What has Thiago Silva brought to Chelsea?
Thiago Silva, everything speaks for itself. A world-class defender, he’s showed that in every club he has been at the top – Milan, PSG and now here. He shows that age is just a number and there is a lot you can learn from him.
He has a boss-like presence, the way he talks, the way he trains, how professional he is.
Do you remember Suarez’s pinch in the first leg?
To be honest, I just saw he pinched me when I saw the pictures on social media. In the game itself, I did not really feel it.
It was emotions just like that, for me nothing special.
Something you’ve done?
Everybody plays the game differently – it’s okay.
Clarification on contract situation? Would you sign a new deal if offered one?
Like I always said, even at the beginning of the season when things were not going my way, I was always calm like I am now. At the end of the day, I cannot give myself a contract so that is why I am waiting to see what happens.
Whatever happens, I love being at Chelsea so Chelsea will always be my priority number one. I hope you understand me.
Atletico is not all about Suarez, they also have Joao Felix too…
It is not only Luis Suarez, as you mentioned. It is also Joao Felix, who I think is a great young talent and a good young prospect. As you said, he is a different kind of player but a player that I love to watch. His technique. He has something special.
What is it like to defend against Werner in training?
You all know that he is very quick and if he has space at his back, he will go. Obviously on the training ground he is hard-working and he is trying everything to turn around his situation. But he needs to be calm and just work hard and work in silence. Then whenever he has that chance on the pitch, have the hunger to score goals and turnaround the situation. Not to make himself panic – like, crazy in his head. He just has to be fine.