In an exclusive interview, Chelsea defender reveals his first impressions about the new manager, speaks about his relationship with Abramovich, and explains the reasons behind the last season’s setback. The Blues are still getting gelled up and, despite the explosive season opening from both City and United, Ivanovic expects the Manchester duo to slow down the pace as the new season unveils.
New season, same ambition, but with the new face at the helm. Mostly because of his age, Andre Villas-Boas got his name written in the history books long before he started the first practice with his new club. It’s quite a unique situation to see someone so young to get the opportunity to lead such a huge household name. What does Ivanovic make out of his new Portuguese manager?
“My first impressions are more than positive. Villas is a completely dedicated and focused professional. He plans his every move down to the tiniest detail, and we were all very much surprised and amazed by the new methods and innovative approach we have come across at the practice sessions. New season has now begun, and the fact is we are not performing at the expected level, but there are many new things to get used to. We are introducing new principles and we all hope to have all the pieces set together as soon as possible, so that we can start producing top-notch performances in order to get into the title race.”
Eternal dilemma when it comes to Branislav Ivanovic – central defender or the right back? At the moment, you are paired with John Terry in the heart of the defence, but what will happen when Luiz gets back in the action?
“At the moment, Andre Villas-Boas sees me at the heart of the defence line, and he is preparing me for that position at practice. For me personally, I see myself on the wing, because I know how physically demanding Premier League really is. There will be a lot of rotations within the squad, and that is simply the coach’s method. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing that matters is that I’m happy with my role in the team. As long as I’m on the pitch, I will give everything to help the team succeed. I will leave it up to AVB to decide the position I would be most useful at.”
Carlo Ancelotti era is over. It lasted for two seasons. Many people are of the opinion Carlo should’ve been given more time and patience, given the Italian is the genuine Champions League specialist?
“I agree, Carlo is indeed an expert. I have said it before, he made an example every manager at Stamford Bridge should follow in the future. He was the first manager to bag the double in the history of the London club, and that is something which will forever be written in the history books. However, the trophyless last season was something club officials couldn’t get over that easily. Honestly, I was very sad to see him go, but life goes on. New manger brought new challenges and we need to adapt as soon as possible.”
Is Champions League title becoming a Chelsea obsession?
“Not only for Chelsea, but for other major clubs as well. You have two, three clubs in each European league dreaming of Champions League title every year. No one in England is willing to give up on silverware that easily. Premiership and League Cup title are the main priorities, Carling Cup is right behind. No one wants to give up in advance and deny their title bid. It is true, the most important title is not yet within our reach, but it is not that simple. A lot of things must come into place in order to climb the very top of Europe.”
Despite the great start to the last season, you haven’t been able to defend the Premier League title. Did Chelsea find the reasons for the sudden drop that cost you the title?
“Of course we did. We conducted the thorough analyses. It is not easy to explain the sudden drop after the furious start to the last season in the Premier League. A lot of aspects influenced our poor results. Lack of fitness, mental block. General conclusion is that we lacked the fresh blood. That is why club officials did their best to reinforce the squad with several young players that will definitely add quality to this team. We will see if that will be enough for the title this year.”
Read more from the Blues defender at TheShedEnder.com