1970 PSG: Chelsea are already in a League Cup Final and are seven points ahead of nearest challengers Manchester City in the Premier League. How would you assess your season so far?
Simon: I’m generally pleased, we’ve played some great football but we’ve also managed to grind out results which is what really makes champions. Jose Mourinho has them playing as a team and bought the passion back so every player works hard out there.
1970 PSG: Who have been your stand-out performers?
Simon: The obvious ones are Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas as well as Diego Costa’s goals and presence up top. But for me the stand out and most important player this season has been Nemanja Matic, his role is essential and without him we look vulnerable at the back.
1970 PSG: It has been almost a year since we met in the quarter-final stage last season and from the outside looking in it is evident that this Chelsea side has got stronger. What are the key reasons are for this?
Simon: Simple, we’ve added a goal scorer up front and a deep lying play maker, the two missing elements to success last season. We so desperately needed someone to create from deep and pick out those long range passes and equally someone on the end to finish them. We didn’t have that last year but with Fabregas assisting and Costa scoring for fun, that’s the difference. Add to that the clear passion and fight every player has, you’ve got the winning formula.
1970 PSG: After returning to the club last season, do you feel that Jose Mourinho has built a team not only capable of winning the league but capable of going all the way in the Champions League? Has the signing of Juan Cuadrado made a greater case for this?
Simon: I think any side left in the latter stages in the Champions League are capable of winning it and there are no stand out contenders here. Chelsea are certainly strong enough to win it, but they’ll need to be brilliant at the back and may even need to park that bus again at times, but that’s how you become Champions. Juan Cuadrado will no doubt help us be even better in attack with his pace and direct style of play. Our three men behind the front man is a very dangerous and a scary looking prospect for opponents now. They have so much pace and they will punish sides on the counter attack.
1970 PSG: What are you impressions of the PSG team you are facing this time around, to the one from last season?
Simon: They seem to have a similar fight and passion to Chelsea and they’re playing with a lot of confidence in their own ability. At times it’s looked like they are all about individuals but that seems to be a distant memory now and they seem to be more of a collective. They know how to win games and it’ll certainly be a tough match for both sides.
1970 PSG: David Luiz’s move from the Bridge last summer rose more than a few eyebrows due to the extravagant transfer fee but what are your thoughts on him? Was he a success during his time at the club?
Simon: I wrote an article about David Luiz back when he was with us that had a positive reaction. It was all about his position. I’ve always felt he’s a midfielder playing at centre back and I still do now. There’s no doubt he is one of the most naturally technically gifted players I’ve ever watched, but he’s clumsy, reckless and a liability. I love his spirit and his ability to do anything with the ball but for me he’s wasted at the back and would be an excellent creative midfielder with the added extra of being a ball winner, he’d score and create a lot from midfield but at the back he’ll always be a liability for me. Even though he has improved slightly.
1970 PSG: What do you think will be the game plan from Mourinho on Tuesday night?
Simon: He’ll be reserved but won’t sit back and invite pressure, he’ll stick to his usual game plan and try to control the game and keep the ball. I don’t think we’ll dominate possession in Paris but we’ll play a balanced style and look to counter attack without over committing. A goal would be great but I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed with a draw.
1970 PSG: Finally, what is your prediction for the game?
Simon: It will be a tense game with nobody wanting to make any errors; 1-1.
Many thanks again to Simon. 1970 PSG spoke to CFCnet as well which you can check out here.