DEFENSIVE JOY

Posted on: Fri 15 Feb 2013

Branislav Ivanovic was delighted to mark his 200th Chelsea appearance with an away win in Prague on Thursday night.

The defender, who made his debut in September 2008 after signing that January, helped us to a clean sheet against Sparta and felt afterward we were deserving of the victory.

'It was very important to win this game and we controlled the game. I'm very happy with my 200th game,' the Serbian said.

'It's very important game for us, because it was our first in this competition. It was hard but we scored the goal and have the advantage. We do have to be careful though because they will have a week to prepare for the second match.'

Ryan Bertrand, who replaced Ashley Cole at left-back, felt equally pleased to take a lead back to Stamford Bridge for next Thursday's second leg.

'To get the clean sheet was a massive positive and even though we only scored one we created quite a few chances and I think we were unlucky not to score two or three,' said the England international. 'It sets us up well for the second leg, a 1-0 away win is good and it gives us confidence going to the home leg.'

Bertrand was an impressed spectator as substitute Oscar scored the game's only goal seconds after coming on.

'It was a fantastic goal. He came on and I can't say it took me by surprise because he has that in the locker, but it didn't take him long, and it was a massive relief for us,' he said.

Unlike our opponents, we will have only a few days to prepare for the second leg, with Sunday's FA Cup replay against Brentford sandwiched between the two Sparta Prague games. We will be favourites for both as we hunt more cup success.

A clip of Branislav Ivanovic speaking to Chelsea TV after the game can be seen above with the full interview available now via the channel's online access.