Ivanovic dreams of Europa joy

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic is determined to end the season on a high as his team prepare to face Benfica in the Europa League final.

Last Updated: 12/05/13 at 13:30 Post Comment

Branislav Ivanovic: Finally gets a chance on the European stage in a final

Branislav Ivanovic: Finally gets a chance on the European stage in a final

It has been an indifferent campaign for last year's Champions League winners, failing miserably at the first hurdle to defend their crown and failing to push Manchester United in the race for the Premier League.

The Blues began the season in contention for seven trophies and the Europa League is the unexpected eighth and Wednesday night in Amsterdam is their final chance of silverware.

"All the season has been difficult, but now is almost the end of the season and we have to do everything to finish the job off," said Ivanovic, ahead of Chelsea's 68th game of the campaign.

"It was very disappointing for us to go out of the Champions League. We tried to motivate ourselves to do our best in the Europa League. We're in the final and we're happy about that. We will do everything to try to win the trophy.

"It's going to be very hard. We will play against Benfica, a very good team. It's very important, another final for the club and another chance to win a trophy.

"It's very important for us as a group to get the chance to finish the season

with a trophy."

Champions League-winning boss Roberto Di Matteo paid the price for Chelsea's failings in the competition and the transition through the Europa League under interim boss Rafael Benitez has been a bumpy one.

Yet now they are in the final, the Blues will bid to claim a one-off win over Benfica, a side they defeated in the Champions League quarter-finals last term.

Ivanovic added: "All of us remember how tough it was. We expect the same. The final is something different, something special. It's only one game and

we have to be ready."

Ivanovic missed the final against Bayern Munich through suspension and is thrilled to be involved in a final this time round.

"This is, for us, as a group, a great chance to try to finish the season with a trophy, which is very important for us, for the club, for the supporters," the Serbian added.

"We're looking forward to that. You have to be just focused for this game. Finals are special games and we play against Benfica which is a very tough team. We have to be ready for it."

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C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

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Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

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e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

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Shaw: Criticism spot on

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urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

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