Tiring schedule cannot be an excuse for Chelsea’s failures – Branislav Ivanovic
Chelsea are set to embark on another hectic schedule of games. The Blues came out of their last series of close games only a couple of days ago. Chelsea’s interim manager Rafael Benitez claims he fears exhaustion might strike down his players, yet Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic believes tiredness “cannot be used as an excuse” abysmal results.
Rafael Benitez’s squad will be stretched thin in another lengthy fixture schedule this week. Chelsea are battling for Europa League and FA Cup glory, while struggling to keep themselves in the Premier League’s top-four for Champions League qualification.
Branislav Ivanovic, who found the back of the net in the 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Sunday, admits he would relish the chance to play in all games for Chelsea.
“In this stage of the season the number of games cannot be an excuse,” Branislav Ivanovic said in an interview on Chelsea’s official website. “You have to play every game like a final and we did that [against Sunderland] in the second half.
“At half-time we said we needed more energy and more intensity and our first goal was very important to give us the confidence and energy to do that. It is true we were under pressure and we didn't play at the level we needed to at the start, but we found a way to win.
“Sunderland changed their manager and a lot of things for his first game and we conceded a goal from a set piece. Especially when you concede in the first half at home it can be difficult to change the game, but we did it and we are happy about that.
“This result was an important three points and we are in a good way and we have to carry this on to the end of the season.”
Branislav Ivanovic has been in stunning form for Chelsea this season. The versatile defender has eight goals and five assists under his belt this term. The 29-year-old Russian international has recorded his best goalscoring statistics under Chelsea colors.
“It is my best total, but I am not looking at that,” Branislav Ivanovic said. “All the goals in the Sunderland game were strange, but for me the three points were important and we have a lot of games until the end of the season, so we have to work very hard to finish it well.”