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Courtois on Chelsea, Mourinho, Atlético, Čech

As Chelsea FC face Paris Saint-Germain, Thibaut Courtois talks about his desire after a near-miss with Club Atlético de Madrid, training with Petr Čech and his laid-back approach.

Thibaut Courtois is hoping to make the final for the second successive season
Thibaut Courtois is hoping to make the final for the second successive season ©Sportsfile

UEFA.com: Does coming so close with Club Atlético de Madrid last season drive you on, make you want to win the European title even more?

Thibaut Courtois: Yes, of course. If you've been that close, you want it even more, because it's like you tasted it a little bit, to know what winning is like. We were really close, so now you even want to win it more. And I think the next time, if there is a next time, I think if we win it, it will taste even better.

UEFA.com: When you were at Atlético, you came across your manager here, José Mourinho, on numerous occasions. What did you think of him as a coach back then?

Courtois: I think he's a really strong coach, he has good tactics, he knows how to motivate the team. And when he was at Real Madrid we had difficulties winning against them. We did once in the cup final. And last season we had it difficult here at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. So I know he's a very good coach, and I can see it now with my own eyes now I have him as my trainer.

UEFA.com: Can you see similarities between him and Diego Simeone in the way they approach the game?

Courtois: In terms of tactics, how they see football, I think they have some of the same views, but obviously they both have a strong character. They know how to motivate teams, they obviously have similarities. But, then again, they are two different people.

Courtois helped knock out Chelsea in last season's semis
Courtois helped knock out Chelsea in last season's semis©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA.com: When you arrived, you mentioned it was a dream come true to play alongside Petr Čech. How much does having Petr here, training every day with him, help you improve as a goalkeeper?

Courtois: It is not really that I will improve a lot being at his side, but I know how he trains and the level we are achieving in training is so high that you improve ... if he makes a great save, you want to make a great save too. So I think we keep each other on a very high level, which is really nice. He has been a world-class goalkeeper for so long. If he says something, if he knows something that you maybe don't know about the Premier League, you listen and you can learn from that.

UEFA.com: When you play, you seem remarkably relaxed. Does that come naturally or is it something you work on?

Courtois: No, that comes with myself. When I had to play my first game with my Belgian team Genk, I was 16, almost 17, but it was a really important game and the coach was fired the week before, so yes, there was a lot of pressure on me because if you played badly then maybe the next chance would be in two or three years; but with all that pressure I managed to play a good game and that was the start of something bigger.

Courtois conceded just once in three group starts
Courtois conceded just once in three group starts©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA.com: Paris Saint-Germain are up next. How well do you think you will have to play to go through?

Courtois: Very well! Last season Chelsea had two difficult games with them in the quarter-finals, so I know it will be a hard game. They were maybe one of the hardest teams for us to get in the draw. But OK, we have a strong team and you have to be able to beat them, but we know [it will be] a very big game and it will be hard. They have a strong squad, they had a little 'weak' moment last month, but you see now they're getting back to their best. It will be a very hard game.

UEFA.com: Do Chelsea have the squad to win the trophy?

Courtois: With the quality we have in this team, we are one of the favourites. But if you see who's still in it, there are a lot of favourites: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich. There are so many big teams that can win the Champions League. But I think we have a very good team and we're one of the favourites to win the Champions League.