Having completed his first full 90 minutes of pre-season, Branislav Ivanovic praised the collective effort of the team following our 2-0 win over AC Milan in New Jersey.
The Serbian produced a solid display at the back as we set up a Guinness International Champions Cup final against Real Madrid on Wednesday, and was delighted with the manner in which we secured our progression.
‘It was a very good physical test and although the pitch wasn’t very good we adapted well, worked hard and it was a good result for us,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.
‘I think we created a lot of chances and there was some quality attacking play. What was important though was that we worked together as a team.’
Ivanovic played the first 45 minutes in the centre of defence alongside Gary Cahill, before switching to right-back after the break following the withdrawal of Cesar Azpilicueta, and he was pleased to come through the game unscathed.
‘John [Terry] played 90 minutes in the last game, before that Gary did, so one by one we are building our physical condition,’ he explains.
‘At this stage of pre-season it’s important to get through matches without picking up injuries, so that was the main thing.’
Wednesday’s clash with Madrid will see Ivanovic reunited with Carlo Ancelotti, a man who led us to the Double in 2009/10, while Jose Mourinho will be facing the side he recently left to return to Stamford Bridge.
Ivanovic acknowledges the links between the sides, but with the beginning of the new Premier League season less than a fortnight away, he, and the rest of the squad, are firmly focused on the job at hand.
‘At the moment there are a lot of connections between the clubs, so it will be a very interesting match, but in football there are no friendly matches,’ he says. ‘It will be a big test for us ahead of the new season.
‘We want to start the season full of motivation and we need to stay at a high level. There are always areas in which you can improve, but at the moment we are looking good.’