Branislav Ivanovic has urged his Chelsea team-mates to sacrifise some of the flair, and win ‘ugly’ to build up the morale of the squad ahead of Sunday’s Premier League fixture at home to Aston Villa.
The Serbian captain said: “We know that we have been inconsistent and we are still building this side. Sometimes it is very difficult for us to keep growing but the more time we have on the pitch the better we will become. It is important for us to sometimes win ugly as that develops belief and confidence in the players. I think that is what we have to do. We now have three days to prepare for a very important game against Aston Villa which will be a very hard game.
“At the beginning of the season they did not start well but now they are full of confidence and every game they are getting better and better. When they come to our ground they have nothing to lose and will have extra confidence after winning at Liverpool, so it is going to be very difficult, especially for us as we have spent a week in Japan. We have to be mentally ready but at least we are at home and there will be no flying.”
When asked about Wednesdays Capitol One Cup quarter-final against Leeds United, he replied: “It was a difficult game because it has come at a very difficult period for us as we have not had a lot of time to adapt. We controlled the game after they scored and we delivered a good performance in the second half. We tried to win and in the end it looks as though we have won easily but it was not like that.
“It was very important for us to show the right reaction after such a disappointing game in Japan. This is though just one game and we have to do that in every match by showing the right focus. We need to win the next couple of games and it is only by doing that, that we will get back the winning mentality which we had before.”
“We were a little bit scared in the opening minutes because we didn’t know how we would react to the flight back from Japan,” Ivanovic added. “But we improved as the game wore on and now we have to recover. We have some time now and we can continue to recover from the journey.”
You have to agree with the serbian defender, who has been an important player for us so far this term. Winning is the only way the team can grow in confidence, the way we win is not important at the moment. If Rafa Benitez is serious about winning this season’s Premier League, they will have to get a run of wins starting on Sunday. The team we have should not be struggling, and with our next four matches against teams all building in confidence, this may be easier said than done… Come on Rafa, sort it out.