Despite various reports linking Serbian and Chelsea central defender Branislav Ivanovic away from Stamford Bridge in January, the powerful defender has come out to insists he still has a place in Chelsea’s new starting eleven spot.

The 32-year old star who has been a regular in the Blues’ squad for several seasons now, has suddenly fallen down the pecking order in Chelsea’s new boss Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation.

The once dreaded defender has suddenly becomes a shadow of himself, with every winger running at him at the back of defence.

Speaking in recent interview after the international break in which he featured for his national team games, the UEFA Champions League winner said:

“I am sure the Chelsea manager will have been watching the games because managers follow all their players.
“It was very good for me to be back on the pitch. I need minutes and I hope in the future I will be physically ready for the team.

The tough tackling defender who was relegated to the substitute bench after Conte’s switched to his favorite 3-4-3 formation further stated:

“I think it will definitely help that my country plays the same system as Chelsea.
“It is definitely something that has changed our team when we started to play that way and we have improved with every game.

“And of course personally it has helped to have the minutes playing in that way.”

The Blues will take a short trip to Riverside stadium on Sunday to take on the Aitor Karanka men. However, nothing but a win will be expected from Conte’s men and Ivanovic will be expecting to get some playing time in the game.

“We can definitely fight for the title. We are in a good way, playing some fantastic football. Ivanovic said.

“We are working very hard and the formation is something positive. It is a shape where every player can learn tactically and I think it is the future of football.”

However, the Serbian spells in Chelsea could be coming to an end in January, with various reports linking him to Barcelona and Inter Milan.


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