Branislav Ivanovic says the players have come through a difficult challenge in the first week of pre-season training, and believes Jose Mourinho will help to improve the squad with his coaching.
There were three days of pre-season training in Cobham before the squad flew to Thailand, with Mourinho since working his players hard in the South-East Asian heat. The manager says they are now tired, but no more than he would expect at this stage. He was sat alongside Ivanovic as the defender spoke to the local media.
'We feel in this moment very confident and we passed a very difficult week,' Ivanovic said. 'In that first week everyone can see a big motivation. I hope we are going to start well and finish well. Between [now and then] we have very hard work. The beginning is everything and this is our base for the season. I know with this kind of work we are not missing any motivation for sure.'
A week into working under the Portuguese, the Serbian defender believes Mourinho can have the desired effect on the squad.
'I think he was in the heart of all Chelsea supporters all these years. Everyone expected him to be back and as I said before we are very happy he is here and he can improve us,' Ivanovic said. 'For the first week we really enjoyed it and it has been impressive but we have to stay focused from the first to last day and we have to prove to him every day we can play hard games. A lot of things depend on the manager and us on the field.'
Also alongside Ivanovic at the team hotel was Marco van Ginkel, who is just over a week into his Chelsea career, and also enjoying life under Mourinho.
'I think from this manager you can learn everything,' the 20-year-old said. 'He is one of the best in the world. I came from Vitesse, a small club. If you can go to Chelsea it's really good and I am very proud to be part of this team, and these players can [teach] me a lot. They are more experienced than me.'