Like many of his colleagues, Branislav Ivanovic leaves Chelsea this week to play international fixtures, but he is already thinking hard about the games that await on his return.
The Serbian was one of four scorers in the win against Norwich that leaves the Blues four points ahead as a two-week break in league fixtures begins. He jets off for matches against Belgium and Macedonia. Then it will be Tottenham at White Hart Lane and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge to complete October’s Barclays Premier League schedule.
‘The international break is a good time to enjoy this first position but there is a very important period coming for us with very tough games, and this is going to be a great challenge for us,’ Ivanovic says.
‘It is always very difficult to play the game after the international break but especially when you play a big derby, this is very tough for us.
‘Our games before against Tottenham were very interesting, very hard, very tough for both sides, but especially now with our ex-manager there it is going to be difficult in one way, but in the other way we know what his ideas are and what we can expect from them. This game is going to be decided by small details.’
The result of Saturday’s match against Norwich was largely determined by Chelsea’s ability to go 2-1 ahead just 11 minutes after falling behind to a Grant Holt goal. The pressure didn’t stay on for long. We were 3-1 up by the break with Ivanovic then scoring his third goal of the season with quarter of an hour of the game remaining.
‘At the moment I feel physically ready and that I can go forward a lot,’ he says. ‘But my goal on Saturday to be honest didn’t decide the game and the most important was the three points. It is good at the moment when the whole team is doing well.
‘We didn’t start the game like we expected and it was a good reaction by the whole team, we kept going and we equalised as soon as possible and after that we changed the game. This short period, the first and second goals, decided the game.’