IVANOVIC: BIG MONTH
Branislav Ivanovic believes the ability to dig deep and grind out results, even when we are not at our best, will be pivotal over a busy December period.
The Blues face eight matches between now and the end of the month as we compete on three fronts, starting with tomorrow night's Barclays Premier League encounter at Sunderland.
Jose Mourinho's side came from behind to secure a big win against Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and that type of spirit, as Ivanovic explained, will be important in the coming weeks.
'We have to go game by game and try to win a few matches in a row, which gives you an advantage over your opponents,' he said.
'This team has a lot of character, definitely. The important thing is we have to show that in every game, we need to stay on top. Even when we're not at our best we need to take a point and show personality.
'There's a long way to go, we have a busy month and it's important for us to recover quickly (between matches) and be ready for the next game.'
We are four points behind leaders Arsenal, who we face at the Emirates two days before Christmas. Ivanovic, however, is careful not to look too far ahead, and is simply pleased to be within sight of the pace setters.
'At this stage in the last few years we were already a lot of points behind the leaders, we are now there which gives us a good chance,' he said.
'Last year we had to chase points, which puts you under more pressure and makes it more difficult. We are improving as a team but we need to show that in every game.
'We have to be careful and we have to fight to try to win every game and every point. In December you can see how physically hard this league is, and it's one of the main references to see how strong the team is.
'At the start we knew the league would be very difficult and very equal, when you have five or six teams who can win the league it makes it extremely difficult. Before, it was always a battle between two or three teams from the beginning so if you picked up points from the start it created a gap. Now, it's quite tight between everyone and I think there are going to be more exciting games.'
The Serbian defender, who has started every league game so far this campaign, praises Demba Ba after the striker came off the bench on Sunday and helped turn the game in our favour.
'Demba showed that every minute on the pitch he tries to fight, he is a physical striker which helps us a lot,' he said. 'We're all very happy he scored his first league goal, it was a reward for his performance.
'Demba has quality and he's very important for this team, he can also hold the ball as well and he will be important in December and January.
'This is what's good for the team, we can change things during the game and it's important for us to have different types of players.'
- December's Score Predictor prize is a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3