Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic expects his side to face their sternest challenge of the campaign in tonight’s mouth-watering clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, reports ESPN.
The Blues will pull level with the hosts on 53 points in second-place should Manuel Pellegrini’s men succumb to a first home defeat of the season; a single point behind the current Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Despite City having notched 17 goals at home against the top-six clubs in the English top-flight this term alone, Ivanovic believes a congealed team effort will be key towards helping the west Londoners snatch a victory.
"We have improved massively as a team," the 29-year-old told Sky Sports News.
"We are staying together, we are fighting together, we control the ball well and we know the performances of team-mates better - a lot of small details that we have improved.
As City look to topple the Blues’ record 103-goal 2009/10 season, the Serbian is braced for a colossal test against the best attacking side in England.
"This is the biggest challenge for us this season but I think we are ready for it. We have to be focused. It can be psychologically very important and very good for us but we know the way and we will try to do everything to stay fighting for the title until the end of the season."
Ivanovic dismisses the ‘title-deciding’ label of tonight’s fixture but also recognises the long-term impact it could have on Chelsea’s push for the league trophy.
"When you want to win the title you never win it in the one game, so you have to play hard all season long. But for us it's a massive game and the crucial game for us this season is this one against Man City.”
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