Gary Neville picks out ‘sensational’ Thiago Silva despite Chelsea draw

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Gary Neville has highlighted the importance of Thiago Silva in Chelsea’s expensively-built squad. The pundit says the defender can play a big role in bringing the dressing room together at Stamford Bridge.

Silva played in Chelsea’s goalless draw against Fulham on Friday. Graham Potter’s side were held by their west London rivals despite giving debuts to two of their January signings and a full debut for Mykhaylo Mudryk.

Enzo Fernandez, the £105million signing from Benfica, came straight into the midfield. Noni Madueke came on for Mudryk at half time because the Ukrainian had been feeling under the weather.

Neville could tell Mudryk wasn’t at the right level in the opening 45 minutes as Chelsea struggled to cause their opponents trouble. But it was Silva who he highlighted as the hosts’ most important player.

Chelsea v Fulham: Pictures

He lined up alongside another January signing at the back, Benoit Badiashile. Neville says 38-year-old Silva will be crucial to the togetherness of the squad.

The Manchester United legend says there will be upset amongst the playing staff due to the influx of new faces in recent weeks. Neville told Sky Sports: “Mudryk wasn’t right the whole of that first half.

“I wondered at half time if it would be harsh for him to come off, obviously being an £80m signing if there wasn’t something wrong with him, because you’re trying to put belief into players, but he wasn’t right. They had no rhythm in their performance, Chelsea, you see a team that’s a unit in attack and defence – they weren’t.

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“The big positives for me were the centre backs. I thought Thiago Silva was sensational, he just impresses me every time I see him and he’s just a world class player, obviously.

“You just think about him tonight, he could be so important – he is so important to them. He has to somehow hold that dressing room together because there’s going to be some very upset, disappointed, dejected characters.

“We’ve just seen a group of players training on the pitch out here after the game at 11 o’clock at night, and trust me they’ll be players who want to be playing in the first team, they want minutes on the pitch, not to be training at 11 o’clock at night in an empty stadium, and there’s going to be a lot of that for that Chelsea squad.”

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