Posted on: Fri 11 May 2012

As he prepares for his final outing of the campaign, Branislav Ivanovic has paid tribute to the supporters that have stuck by the team through a testing year.

After a bright beginning, our title challenge faded before Christmas and with a game to go we are condemned to a sixth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League, but with a fourth FA Cup in six years already secured and a Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, a game for which Ivanovic is unfortunately suspended, there are plenty of reasons to smile and the squad is certain to be given a warm send-off on Sunday afternoon after we meet already-relegated Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge.

'It was a very difficult season for us and the fans deserve the best ending they can get,' said 28-year-old Ivanovic. 'They have supported us all season, we've had some difficult times but hopefully we have passed them and the finish to the season can be great.

'It's my last game on Sunday and I am excited to play it in front of our supporters, I want to show my best and start building for next season. We want to finish the Premier League well, it's the last game before Munich and it will be important to get behind the players that will be playing in Germany.'

The defender admits it has been a frustrating domestic campaign, with both Tottenham and Newcastle beating us to automatic European qualification in the league.

'In the Premier League it was a long season, up and down,' he conceded. 'We never gained consistency in picking up points, never had a truly good run and this was the main problem. Next season we hope will be better in the league but this one can still end very well for us in Germany.'

This afternoon's game will be followed by a lap of honour from the players, who will also parade the FA Cup. The occasion brings back memories of last year when Ivanovic's son Stefan wowed supporters with his predatory instincts in front of goal.

'Last year I had my son on the pitch with me, and this kind of thing is nice at the club, to be with the family on the pitch and thanking the fans for the support on a lap,' said the Serbian. 'It means a lot to everybody and you feel the love of the supporters. It's a great experience.'