The Weekend Interview: Paulo Ferreira
Among the many, many trophies won by former Chelsea and Portugal defender Paulo Ferreira is the FA Cup.
Ahead of today’s fourth round match against Bradford, Ferreira, who spent nine years as a player here, sat down with the official Chelsea website to recall his favourite FA Cup memories, as well as discussing lower league opposition, his first goal for the club and how the benefit of his experience is helping young players…
May 19, 2007. The opening of the new, redeveloped Wembley Stadium. A day on which the FA Cup final, having been staged in Cardiff for the previous six years, returned to its rightful home.
It was the perfect script, with the two best teams in the country at the time, Chelsea and Manchester United, facing off in a bid to secure the trophy.
From a Chelsea point of view the gameplan was executed perfectly. Man United’s biggest strength was their ability to punish teams on the counter attack and, to get the better of them, we needed to stop their players getting in behind us.
It was the Blues who offered more of an attacking threat and during extra time the decisive breakthrough came, when Didier Drogba exchanged passes with Frank Lampard on the edge of the box and raced through, poking the ball beyond Edwin van der Sar to win the match, and the trophy, for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Ferreira started the game in his customary right-back position and performed well, limiting the influence of his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, who was operating wide on the left for United.
‘Everyone knows what the FA Cup means, for all clubs,’ he says. ‘That game was very special because it was the first final at the new Wembley and it was against Manchester United.
‘Of course it will always be a great memory because we won. It was a wonderful atmosphere, almost 90,000 inside the stadium. It was a tight game and it went to extra time, but then Didier scored the goal that gave us the trophy.
‘It was very important because we lost the league but we won two competitions, and it was nice to beat the champions. Those big games are always difficult and very unpredictable, you never know what’s going to happen.
‘It was very tough but in the end we got the victory, and it’s always much better to play a final and win, rather than lose. It was a great day for us, perfect.’
Shortly after the game, Ferreira explained why he wasn’t surprised to be marking Ronaldo, a player he was familiar with from the national team.
‘I know that he usually plays on the right but that sometimes he changes,’ he said back in 2007.
‘It was nothing that I didn’t know so it was okay. I did well, not just me but all the team. It was a brilliant finish to my season. It was a big game, this big stadium was unbelievable, incredible.’
During that season, we opened our FA Cup campaign with a home game against League Two side Macclesfield Town, running out comfortable 6-1 winners, and later today we face League One’s Bradford City with a place in the fifth round up for grabs.
Of course, the fact a team from the lower leagues can be afforded an opportunity to test themselves against a top Premier League side is what makes the competition so special, and having worked underMourinho for many years, both at Chelsea and Porto, Ferreira says there is no chance the Blues will underestimate Bradford.
‘You have to respect all teams, it doesn’t matter who you are playing, big clubs or small clubs, you have to approach every game in the same way,’ he states. ‘If you see the Chelsea squad, with the players they have, the quality doesn’t change regardless of who plays, but these games are very dangerous.
‘I’ve played for smaller teams and I know what it’s like to play against big sides. They have a huge opportunity to show what they can do and, for sure, they will give everything. Chelsea will face the game in the right way, respect the opponent and focus on doing their jobs properly.
‘When you think the goal will always come that’s when you can be in trouble, but I’m confident the players will perform well and I think they will win the game.’
The competition holds a special place in Ferreira’s heart, after his first Chelsea goal came in a 3-1 FA Cup win over Colchester United in 2006.
Interestingly, our opponents that afternoon were managed by Phil Parkinson, who takes charge of Bradford today, and it’s a goal Ferreira remembers with mixed emotions, as he explains.
‘I can’t forget that goal,’ he says laughing. ‘It’s a very nice memory; of course I would love to have celebrated in a different way but at that time we were losing 1-0, so my goal was the equaliser.
‘It’s funny because in that game Jose sent me up for attacking corners and normally I stayed back in defence, he told me I would score a goal. He said for me to make a movement to the far post; the corner came in, there was a bit of a deflection, it came to me and I finished it.
‘It was hard because I wanted to get the ball and go back for the kick-off, we were playing at home against a team from the lower divisions, and you just want to win the game, so I couldn’t really celebrate my first Chelsea goal.’
Our interview takes place in the Academy building at our Cobham training ground, Ferreira’s base as he continues to study for his UEFA coaching qualifications, and the man who made 217 appearances for the Blues over a nine-year period says he is reaping the rewards of working alongside some talented coaches.
‘It’s really good, I started here doing my Level 2 with the Under-11s and then I applied for the B License, that started last May and I finished in December,’ says Ferreira.
‘It’s really nice to be involved and the people here in the Academy have been so welcoming. I think it’s really important to be here watching sessions. It’s good to see how everything works on the other side, not just as a player. I’m enjoying watching how the coaches work and how they communicate with the boys. It’s important to absorb as much information as you can from different coaches.’
Ferreira has certainly been busy of late and, as well as focusing on coaching, he has also embarked upon a couple of other projects for the club.
‘I was invited to visit Jamaica with coaches from the Chelsea Foundation, and then I went to Russia as well,’ he says. ‘It was a really nice experience and for me it’s always a pleasure to help the club in any way I can, especially when it involves young players.
‘It’s always nice to talk to them and pass on some of my experience, explaining how I achieved what I did. For them, they obviously want to become professionals so to have someone who has been in their position and had the same dreams is good.’