John Terry and Ashley Cole scandals have had 'positive' effect on Chelsea claims Branislav Ivanovic
Branislav Ivanovic claimed the John Terry and Ashley Cole scandals could have a “positive” effect on Chelsea's bid for silverware after helping them storm four points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
The European champions shrugged off the latest furore to engulf the club by crushing Norwich 4-1 on Saturday and posting their best start to a season since 2006.
Chelsea have become past masters at playing amid an off-field maelstrom surrounding either Terry or Cole but perhaps not both at the same time.
That is exactly what they did on Saturday after Terry was found guilty by an independent Football Association regulatory commission of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and Cole launched a foul-mouthed Twitter tirade at the English game's governing body.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo denied a siege mentality had set in at Stamford Bridge but right-back Ivanovic said: "Maybe the extra pressure keeps you more concentrated and focused.
"Maybe it's positive when you have to think like that."
The Terry and Cole sagas have done serious damage to Chelsea's off-field reputation at a time where their standing on the pitch could hardly be higher.
Nineteen points from 21 is their second-best haul ever in the Premier League, they also top their Champions League group, and all the while beginning to play the scintillating football both owner Roman Abramovich and their critics have been demanding.
The problem is not many people are talking about that at the moment.
After scoring his fourth goal already this season, Ivanovic said: "The most important thing is the position of the club.
"It's great at the moment and I hope we're going to stay there.
"Maybe this way, this is what the people will have to say about Chelsea, about how we play and this kind of thing, which is what we deserve."
Saturday's performance was the perfect way for Chelsea to go into the international break but Ivanovic warned that far tougher tests lay ahead.
First up is a reunion at Tottenham with former boss Andre Villas-Boas, who tried so hard last season to get Chelsea playing the kind of dazzling football they are now producing under Di Matteo.
That is followed by a difficult Champions League game away to Shakhtar Donetsk, back-to-back league and Capital One Cup clashes with Manchester United and - after a trip to Swansea - home meetings with Shakhtar and Liverpool.
To make matters worse, the Blues will be without Terry for their first four domestic games during that period if he decides not to appeal against the guilty verdict in his racist abuse case.
It was therefore no surprise right-back Ivanovic refused to get carried away with Chelsea's scintillating form.
"It's good that we are four points ahead at the moment," he said. "But it means nothing because we know how difficult this league is and how every game is very tough."
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
Manuel Pellegrini must deliver five trophies in five years at Manchester City says chief executive Ferran Soriano
Major refinancing sees Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Twitter comments about Woolwich murder
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.