Thiago Silva has said he is hoping to set an example for Chelsea's younger players as the experienced Brazilian defender prepares to make his debut for the Premier League club.
Silva, who turned 36 on Tuesday, moved to Chelsea on a one-year contract after reaching the Champions League final as Paris Saint-Germain captain. Capped 89 times by Brazil, Silva is one of the most decorated footballers in the modern game having won 23 major honours across his club and international career.
He joins a Chelsea squad with plenty of young and exciting talent, but one that has at times lacked experience and on-field leadership. Even after a summer that has seen Chelsea spend more than £200 million on transfers, many those new signings are younger players, and Silva believes he can apply his influence both during a game and away from the pitch.
"Off the pitch it is basically the same thing. I have my experience in my career with all that I have won and it is important to show the younger players that just playing matches isn’t enough," Silva said during his first press conference on Tuesday.
"They need this preparation to be ready and in the best state possible, and they must see how important it is to win things because people who are successful and win things are remembered.
"For example our manager, Frank Lampard, he won so much including one of the biggest championships in world football. He will be remembered eternally, not just by Chelsea fans."
For all of Chelsea's attacking abilities last season, Lampard's side struggled defensively, conceding the joint-10th most amount of goals in the Premier League. Silva is viewed as a short-term solution to help shore up the back-line, but the Brazilian insisted that it is not only the defenders who are responsible for keeping goals out.
"It’s always difficult when you’re at a big club because there are a lot of demands and all the players need to be aware of their responsibilities in a Chelsea shirt," he said. "When mistakes are made, people always look to blame the defence but that’s not always the case.
"The defensive responsibilities come from across the team and what I’m here to do is help the team on the pitch. I’m the type of player who communicates a lot, I like to encourage and motivate those around me so that we can achieve great things at Chelsea."
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One of the main obstacles for Silva to overcome is the language barrier, but as someone who can speak four languages, he is confident he can quickly adapt.
"It’s going to be difficult as it always is at the start with a new language but I already speak Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese and the tendency is once you’ve learnt other languages, it should come easier," he said. "I hope to learn English as quickly as possible and I’m studying Monday to Friday.
"Football is a mix of communications so it’s a similar language. I’m looking at some basic terms and words to be able to help the team like tracking back and changing side – I’m trying to clarify these important words. The other players use a lot of other languages as well."
Lampard said during his pre-match press conference for Chelsea's League Cup third round match against Barnsley that Silva will be making his debut, whether as a starter or from the bench. And despite his shortened pre-season, Silva said he is ready.
"I will continue to prepare as best as possible," he said. "It will be a difficult game, as it was a month ago, but regardless of our opposition if we can play our game and do our best then we will get the win. If we prepare well then we’re closer to getting the victory."