Ivanovic: Getting better

Branislav Ivanovic believes his defensive versatility provides manager Jose Mourinho with more options as we prepare for the start of the new campaign.

Our pre-season programme gathered pace in the Netherlands, where we overcame Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 at the Gelredome courtesy of goals from Mohamed Salah, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic.

Ivanovic started the game alongside Gary Cahill in the centre of defence, before switching to right-back after the break following the introduction of John Terry.

‘We are working hard, we are still not ready to produce our best performances, we have to improve but we are going in the right direction at the moment,’ he tells the official Chelsea website.

‘It’s important for the manager to have players who can play in different positions, it enables him to mix it up when he needs to. I’ve always said I’m comfortable playing in both positions, I’m happy to do that but it’s up to the manager where he wants to play me.’

While the overall aim of pre-season is to ensure the players go into our opening game at Burnley fully fit, there is never a bad time to develop a winning habit, with last night’s win our fourth from five friendly matches.

‘We are getting better, we are training very well,’ says Ivanovic. ‘The intensity of the sessions and the matches is getting higher every time. The opponents we are coming up against are also getting tougher and we’ve adapted to each challenge quickly.’

The Serbian defender was also delighted for his compatriot and close friend Matic, after the midfielder scored his first goal for the club 16 minutes from time.

‘It’s great for him in terms of his confidence,’ Ivanovic explains. ‘He’s capable of scoring goals so hopefully now he can go on and score a few more.’