Branislav Ivanovic is hopeful we can take advantage of an opportunity to make history and become only the second English side to be crowned world champions tomorrow night in Japan.
The Blues take on Brazilian side Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup final, having eased past Monterrey on Thursday, bidding to secure the trophy for the very first time, and Ivanovic, who was forced to miss the Champions League final through suspension, is desperate to add yet another medal to his ever-expanding collection.
‘For us this is the key game for a generation, one of the most important matches,’ said the versatile Blues defender. ‘We know how we have to play finals, we have to be ready and we are expecting a very hard game.
‘We are preparing by studying clips from our game, but also by watching Corinthians’ semi-final. We know it will be tough, they are defending well, a final is a completely different game and small details can make a difference, so we have to be focused from the first to the last minute. I know the team will be ready for this.
‘It will be a key point for this group after being eliminated from the Champions League, which was disappointing. We know we have to work hard. It’s a new chance to make history, for us it’s a great opportunity and we are ready for the challenge.’
Ivanovic, who has played both as a right-back and in the centre of defence over the course of the current campaign, scored a pivotal goal en route to Munich, with the extra-time winner against Napoli at Stamford Bridge.
Tomorrow, however, sees us face a tricky, technically-competent outfit, and he stressed the need for defensive stability throughout the whole side.
‘All of their players have great skills, and are good in one-on-one situations,’ he explained. ‘We know how we have to defend, it will be a big challenge for us and it’s a great moment in our lives. We know why we came all the way here.
‘I know Chelsea will do everything to defend well. We have fantastic attacking players who can decide a game in a split second, but when I say defence I mean the whole team, not just the defensive line and midfielders.’
The subject of that memorable night in Germany last May, perhaps unsurprisingly, continually cropped up, and Ivanovic launched a staunch defence of our success when questioned on the style of play which ultimately won us the trophy.
‘If a team win many trophies over five or 10 years it can’t be just luck,’ he said. ‘We know we deserved to beat Barcelona and then win the final, it was down to hard work, we did our best. Sometimes, the most important thing is the result.’
The Chelsea following in Yokohama’s International Stadium is expected to be heavily outnumbered by the travelling Corinthians supporters.
Ivanovic, though, sees no reason for us to panic, and his sole focus remains on ending the night as a world champion.
‘This is quite similar to the Champions League final, when we played away,’ said Ivanovic. ‘There will be a lot of Brazilian supporters but also ours as well, we will just try to adapt quickly and stay focused on the game.
‘For all of us in the squad it means a lot, we know how big the tournament in South America, it’s huge. For us, it’s the same, you don’t get many chances to be a world champion with your club and we need to take it.’