Ivanovic: Pressure on City

  • Last Updated: January 27 2014, 13:34 GMT

Branislav Ivanovic believes Chelsea are ready and capable of stopping the Manchester City juggernaut.

Branislav Ivanovic: Ready to test Manchester City
Branislav Ivanovic: Ready to test Manchester City

Oscar's delightful free-kick earned a 1-0 win over Stoke on Sunday to set up an FA Cup fifth-round tie with City, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's favourites for the Premier League title.

Mourinho thinks City, who are in contention for an unprecedented quadruple, have it all to lose after their investments in recent seasons.

But his Chelsea side are in a position to put pressure on City, who put their 100 per cent Premier League home record on the line against Chelsea on February 3, after a seventh straight win saw them advance in the FA Cup.

Ivanovic agrees with his manager that City, and not Chelsea, are the ones under pressure.

"Manchester City are playing great football, especially at home," Ivanovic said.

"They must feel pressure. When you know a big game is coming up and you know you're playing at home and must win, it's a different kind of feeling and preparation for the game. We must use that (against them).

"It's going to be a big challenge for us, but we know what we have to do to stop them. It's important we play as a team, to be on top of our game and show more than we do normally to be successful.

"We stay in touch. We know how hard these games will be and how important they will be psychologically. We must be ready for that.

"These are the games for big guys, big players."

Right-back Ivanovic is one of Chelsea's leading performers and Nemanja Matic showed enough on his full debut after re-signing from Benfica to demonstrate he has the potential to be a key cog in Mourinho's team for years to come.

Asked about fellow Serb Matic, Ivanovic said: "He can be a very important player for us.

"He has signed a five-year deal so his future is here, step by step, he will be one of the most important (players).
"He has improved massively from the last time he was here. It's great.

"He is the one who is leading the game, he asks for the ball and looks to go forward. Defensively he has improved a lot too.

"He was my best mate the last time he was here, he is like my brother. We do a lot of things together. It's nice to have him here and it's much easier for me as well."

Ivanovic bade farewell to another friend last week when Juan Mata left for Manchester United.

"It was very sad and emotional for us because he was one of the loveliest guys in the squad," Ivanovic said.

"(But) this was the best thing for all sides. We will see in the future how important it was for us.

"I think Chelsea did a great deal and let a player who is not playing at the moment leave for another club. Manchester United is important for him as a player."
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