IVANOVIC: TEAM TIME
With Chelsea in action in two domestic competitions before the chance to overcome a two-goal deficit in our Champions League tie, Branislav Ivanovic has emphasised the vital importance of team work and togetherness in the weeks ahead.
The 27-year-old defender started the win at QPR last month and the five games since which have yielded three draws and two defeats. He admits confidence has been affected but is clear in his mind that a collective effort can improve results.
'The manager is doing his job by choosing the team and we have to do our job by using every minute on the pitch to try to make things better,' Ivanovic said.
'It's the hardest moment since I've been at the club, confidence isn't the best but all we can do is try to keep doing things positively and get through this difficult period. If everybody performs we can get the rewards from hard work.
'I don't want to protect anybody or defend anybody but we are a team. When everything was going well and we were doing things right it was because the whole team defended well or the whole team attacked well. If we start thinking the defenders are there to defend and the attackers are there to attack, it won't bring us good results.'
The Serbian, who has been a Chelsea player for four years, also stressed the need for others to lead by example should the captain be ruled out for a length of time following exploratory surgery.
'John Terry is one of the most important players in our team. I'm not just saying that, it's a fact. He can change things and do everything positive for the team, but if he's out we have to be ready and make the team not feel his absence.
'For us, we have to be more focused on our jobs, it's important we stay together. One of JT's biggest qualities is his leadership when times are difficult. David Luiz is quite young still and it [the Napoli game] was only the third time him and Gary Cahill had played together so they need time, but they can be very good together defensively.
'One of the small but good things to come out of that game is the away goal, which gives us a chance to believe. One of the most important things is to not concede a goal at Stamford Bridge as it will kill our confidence, we have to play well defensively and we have a good enough squad to score goals.'