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Branislav Ivanovic

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An actual legend of the club. He played a key role in many of Chelsea's successes and he can be very proud of himself. Went from a complete nobody when he first arrived to one of the first names on th

Says it all. Get out of my club you absolute helmet. He's been useless defensively for a while now but his goals/assist tally saved him last season. I actually laughed when this happened, totally ut

i cant say it better...

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Managed to spoil what was an otherwise excellent performance by losing Cavani for their second goal. Having said that, he WAS vastly superior at CB tonight than he usually is at RB this season

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He's been exclusively playing RB like forever... Can't expect him to seamlessly switch to CB for a tough match like this one.

still think that he is a good player and possibly our best defender as terry retires. Yes zouma is quality too but very different.

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Don't laugh at me but I actually think that he's Chelsea's best defender as long as you keep him away from going forward and crossing like a nutter. He's no full back nowadays, he can't deal with pacey wingers anymore. Terry and Ivanovic should be the centre backs as soon as JT is fit again. 

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Cahill and Ivanovic have already been proven as a decent partnership under Rafa. They're no JT/Gallas or JT/Carvalho but they're probably a better partnership than most other top teams in the league apart from Morgan/Huth.

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I love the guy I really do. Love his spirit and determination. And IF we could bring him on purely for set pieces then Id say play him till he falls apart. But unfortunately hes just not  got the legs and speed we need (Same with Cahill I'm afraid).



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Great interview



His eight years at Chelsea have always been thrilling, often turbulent and never dull but Branislav Ivanovic can recall no time quite like the start of this season.

It is a time he regards, from a personal point of view, as one of the lowest moments of his career, and he reflects on it with disarming honesty.

Perhaps it is easier to look back as things fall into place again and pride is restored. Chelsea are climbing the Premier League, anticipating a big Champions League night and an FA Cup quarter-final.

The dressing room simply did not handle the pressure of being champions and, according to Ivanovic, they ‘lost control’.

He suspects owner Roman Abramovich would have changed ‘all 25’ players given the chance but, as ever, it was the manager, Jose Mourinho, who was ousted and replaced by Guus Hiddink. ‘We didn’t know what was going wrong around us,’ said Ivanovic. ‘No-one inside the club knew. We finished brilliantly last season. We won the trophy. We knew how difficult it was.

‘Jose told us the hardest season in football is the year after you win because everyone else has extra motivation. We were ready for that, but we didn’t start well and we lost control of our game, of our minds.

‘For me that period of three or four months was one of the most disappointing moments in my career. Player by player, we could not deal with the pressure of what being champions of England means.

‘Your opponents have big motivation and they look at you differently, they start to be scared of you.

‘But when we didn’t win for six or seven games, people realised we were not as strong as last season. They could use that. And then they weren’t scared of us. This was our problem as players.’

After years of incredible consistency, Ivanovic saw his own form slip. ‘I thought about it a lot,’ said the 32-year-old.

‘I took criticism from the public, but I was more critical of myself. All players are most critical of themselves.

‘I tried to find the reason why I was not performing as I was last season. We gave everything last season. Even more than we could. And we didn’t realise how dangerous it was to be champions. We fell down quickly. We didn’t know what was going on around us.

‘I had an injury and was not 100 per cent clear in my head what I was doing, what I had to do.

‘Jose didn’t change. He didn’t change the way he prepared the game. He didn’t change the way he treated us. He didn’t change anything. He was the same.

‘Football is about players. The managers are not on the pitch. It is 11 against 11. You have to be better than your opponent and, at the beginning of the season, we weren’t.

‘The players were more responsible for that situation than the manager. Of course it is difficult in football to change 25 players halfway through the season.

‘But I think at this club if (Abramovich) could have, he would have changed all of us as well. It’s difficult to say it was only one guy’s responsibility.’

Since Abramovich fired Mourinho in December, Chelsea have lost only once in 16 games, a 2-1 Champions League defeat in Paris with the return leg on Wednesday.

In the Premier League, they are unbeaten in 11 games under interim boss Hiddink ahead of Saturday's game at home to Stoke.

‘Guus deserves a lot of credit,’ said Ivanovic. ‘He is doing an amazing job. But it was all about the players. Changing the manager woke us up and scared us.
‘When we had Jose, we had a shield in front of us. We had someone to protect us, to be criticised first.

‘Now it is only us. We cannot blame someone else. We have no-one around us, and we have to start winning games, which is the aim of the club.

‘Chelsea did not deserve to be in the situation they were in for November and December. Now we are doing well. We are trying to do everything we can to save the season.

‘We don’t know what this means at the moment. We have to go step by step.’

Ivanovic’s own form is back to its best. He has signed a new deal until the end of next season and has been captain in the absence of John Terry.

At Norwich on Tuesday, he made his 350th appearance for Chelsea and, with Terry set to leave in the summer, the Serb is his obvious successor.

‘Difficult question,’ said Ivanovic, when asked if he fancied the role. ‘We have a captain. I do not like to think about what happens in the future.

‘I try to do my best and be ready if it happens. I would hope not to change what I am now. If not, I’m happy like this. I am captain of my national team so I know what the pressure is like.

‘A good captain must be successful. Win the trophies. Winners are always right.

‘On the pitch, you need to be the person all the others look to. When we concede a goal, we always look to John and see his reaction.

‘Always you expect a positive one. Off the pitch, you need to be professional, set a good example.

‘In the last couple of years we have lost some leadership. We had big players who built this team. Also, we were winning and when you are winning you make new leaders.

‘We have enough resources to make more leaders. But in my opinion we have lost a bit of leadership.’

Ivanovic has always been a warrior, an intimidating physical presence with a goal knack, hailed by Mourinho as a ‘competitive animal’ with a ‘big heart’ after playing on with a boot full of blood to score the winner against Liverpool in a Capital One Cup semi-final last season.

‘When I went home I did not feel the pain,’ said Ivanovic. ‘Not because the doctor gave me tablets, but because, when the manager says that about you, you are so happy that you cannot feel the pain. He knows that.

‘I was at home looking at my foot thinking I would not recover for a couple of weeks. Then I came in next morning and Jose said: “You ready, yeah?” I wasn’t, but I said: “Yeah”.

‘I played with stitches and it was bleeding. Ninety-five per cent of our team would have done the same. It was a moment we were enjoying; a moment when we did not have time to feel the pain.’ 




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