Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, who is fast becoming as invaluable to the team as John Terry, has commented on how steady the back line has been in pre-season.
The 27-year-old, whose league appearances have been increasing year on year since joining the club in January 2008, was pleased with the start the Blues have made in the run-up to the 2011-2012 season.
Andre Villas-Boas’s team have so far kept a clean sheet in all three of their pre-season clashes, firstly against Portsmouth and then two Asian teams during their tour of the continent.
“It is important in these kind of games to see things developing,” the Serbian international said.
“It is very important to keep going with a good defensive line but at the same time we are looking for good play as well, and I think it is going to be fine for the start of the season. It is good that everyone is working hard.”
Chelsea’s goal tally has also started to improve, and after two understated 1-0 wins, Ivanovic strove forward to thump in the second in a 4-0 rout against the Thailand XI last time out.
“It was a good goal,” the defender admitted, but he remained focused on the main task in hand for Chelsea’s defence. “It is great because it gives you confidence when you score goals but it is not so important when a defender scores goals.
“Now it is important these last two games in Asia, they are going to be very important for the start of the season for us.”
* Chelsea face the last game of their Asian tour against Hong Kong side Kitchee SC at 14:30 GMT today (Wednesday).