Tuesday 27 September 2016

Branislav Ivanovic: Chelsea have to wake up

Published 13/09/2015 | 22:39

Chelsea and Branislav Ivanovic, centre, slumped to another defeat at Everton
Chelsea and Branislav Ivanovic, centre, slumped to another defeat at Everton

Branislav Ivanovic accepts stuttering champions Chelsea need to raise their game - but is convinced one win can provide the spark to kickstart their campaign.

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Chelsea's dismal start to their Barclays Premier League title defence continued as a Steven Naismith hat-trick sent them crashing to a 3-1 defeat at Everton on Saturday.

The result left Jose Mourinho's men with just four points from five games and reflecting on a third defeat in their last four outings.

They lost only three in the league in the whole of last season and their sequence constitutes the club's worst start to a top-flight season since 1986.

Defender Ivanovic told Chelsea TV: "We need one big win to come back to our way.

"We are not playing as badly as the results are showing but we have to wake up.

"I think at the moment we are being punished for all our mistakes. The only way we can change is to work hard and be ready for the next game, so it is like a final and we have to play like a final."

Chelsea will hope to spring into life as they launch their latest Champions League campaign against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Ivanovic said: "The next game is very important for us. It is a new competition and it is time to change all this situation. I hope we will start winning the games soon."

Chelsea were overrun in the first 25 minutes at Goodison Park. Naismith, a ninth-minute replacement for the injured Muhamed Besic, started and finished the move that led to the opener after 17 minutes. He quickly followed up with a long-range strike while Arouna Kone and James McCarthy also brought fine saves out of Asmir Begovic.

Nemanja Matic pulled one back with a brilliant effort before the break but Naismith - completing a classic treble of headed, left-foot and right-foot finishes - settled the contest after 82 minutes.

It was no more than the Toffees deserved having seemed the hungrier, better organised and more creative side throughout.

And the outstanding performance of centre-back John Stones, the subject of four failed bids from Chelsea during the summer transfer window, will only have increased the visitors' frustration.

Everton can reflect with satisfaction on another positive afternoon and Naismith, who has not yet started in the Premier League this season, certainly savoured the closing minutes.

The Scotland international said: "It is the hardest part of the game to do, get goals, but when you get two and there is so much time left you definitely think you have got chances to get the third.

"The third one is the one that gives you relief that you have got your hat-trick, but overall the game was pretty tight at that moment.

"To get that you know you have won the game, you can enjoy the last few moments."

Naismith now hopes his performance can lead to greater involvement in Roberto Martinez's side.

The 28-year-old said: "It has been a tough start to the season for me. I have not played as many games. As a player it is hard to keep taking when you are on the bench but you have got to be ready.

"I have got confidence in my ability and when you get the opportunities you have got to prove that. Here I have done that and hopefully there is a bright future for me."

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