Branislav Ivanovic bemoans Chelsea’s defensive lapses
Branislav Ivanovic admitted Chelsea were failing to show the resilience that helped win them the Champions League after they were exposed again by top-class opposition.
Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against Juventus in the opening match of their defence of the trophy was the third time this season the Blues’ defensive deficiencies have cost them dear on the big stage. Having already seen them miss out on the Community Shield and Super Cup, shipping seven goals in the process, Wednesday’s surrender of a two-goal lead suggested they may face an uphill struggle to hold on to the biggest prize of all.
And defender Ivanovic refused to make excuses for his and his team-mates’ recent lapses. He said: “We are playing differently this year, with more emphasis on attacking, but everyone also has to be focused on defending and being organised. This is what helped us get good results last year.”
Ivanovic admitted Chelsea “made it too easy” for Juve to get back into the game.
“It is very difficult, but it’s all about our concentration and motivation,” added the Serbia international, who missed last season’s final through suspension.
“Personally, for me, I have very big motivation for this year. Everyone knows when you win something – it doesn’t matter if it’s the league or Champions League – everyone is more motivated against you. So you have to be ready and be strong. I think we are – it’s just we need a couple more games. We are much more creative in the attacking third, but we have to have the right balance and still work hard to get to the top level.
“It’s more of a mental situation because our training is hard enough to prepare for a good game. Physically, we are ready but, mentally, we have to do more and be stronger. We have to support each other to get better. Every player has to motivate themselves.”
Daniel Sturridge missed out against Juve with a hamstring strain and an ankle knock ended Oscar’s stunning full debut. Both were due to be assessed today ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Stoke. Oscar will be desperate to pick up where he left off against Juventus, his stunning double good enough to win any match but for Chelsea’s slackness.
The 21-year-old Brazilian said: “In Brazil, the people, the young boys, they dream about playing in the Champions League. For me to realise the dream, I am very proud of that. I am very happy with the two goals but I would be much happier if the team had won the game.”
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