Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ivanovic not bitter over Grant snub at Chelsea

Chelsea right-back Branislav Ivanovic insists he has no bitterness towards Portsmouth coach Avram Grant as he prepares to help the Blues achieve an historic double at Wembley today.

Ivanovic hardly figured for Chelsea during Grant's brief time as manager of the Blues and the Serbia defender, who was named in the PFA Premier League team of the year, admits it was the most difficult time of his career.

He is confident of overcoming a knee injury to play against Grant's Portsmouth team and hopes to go into the history books alongside the rest of his Chelsea team-mates by adding the FA Cup to the Barclays Premier League title they secured last Sunday.

Ivanovic was signed from Lokomotiv Moscow for £9million in January 2008 but injury kept him sidelined for much of the season as Grant kept Chelsea in the hunt for the domestic league title and the Champions League. But when fully fit, he found himself isolated.

“I have no ill-feeling towards Avram but at that moment I was really angry,” said Ivanovic. “I understand him now because I couldn't change a lot of things in that moment.

“When I arrived it was difficult for a lot of reasons. I had come from the Russian league when there was a break between seasons. I was not ready to play. I needed time to be able to get used to the training, the play and everything about the club.

“But after that I picked up an injury and when I returned it was near the end of the season and every game for Chelsea at that stage was important. The squad was very strong and they were trying to get to the Champions League final. They were also involved in a very tough title race with Manchester United, like it was this year. However, it was the most difficult time in my career.”

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