Apr 7, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Chelsea
2-1
Sunderland
Ivanovic (55'), Kilgallon (47' og.)
FT(HT: 0-1)
Azpilicueta (45' og.)
Gardner (25'), Rose (62')

Branislav Ivanovic refuses to blame busy schedule

Ivanovic refuses to blame schedule
© PA Photos
Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic refuses to blame his side's busy schedule for any potential poor end to the season.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has warned his teammates that tiredness would not be a valid excuse for a poor end to the season.

The Blues have been hit by a busy schedule of fixtures due to their continued involvement in the Europa League and the FA Cup in addition to Premier League duties, resulting in them playing eight matches in April alone.

However, Ivanovic insists that his side will not be using that as an excuse and that they need to treat every match from now on as a cup final.

"In this stage of the season the number of games cannot be an excuse. You have to play every game like a final and we did that [against Sunderland] in the second half," Ivanovic told the club's official website.

"At half time we said we needed more energy and more intensity and our first goal was very important to give us the confidence and energy to do that. It is true we were under pressure and we didn't play at the level we needed to at the start, but we found a way to win.

"Sunderland changed their manager and a lot of things for his first game and we conceded a goal from a set piece. Especially when you concede in the first half at home it can be difficult to change the game, but we did it and we are happy about that. This result was an important three points and we are in a good way and we have to carry this on to the end of the season."

Chelsea are currently embroiled in a battle for a Champions League spot next season, sitting third in the Premier League table, two points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal.

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic celebrates scoring his team's second goal on December 19, 2012
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1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool23138254282647
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton2349102334-1121
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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