Chelsea take on London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon, looking to claim the League Cup trophy as their own, and Branislav Ivanovic has told the official Blues website that there is a key reason they want cup success.
Victory for either club will ensure a first piece of silverware for their respective head coaches - for Jose Mourinho, the first in his second spell in charge - and would set up the remainder of the season for success. Chelsea are still in contention for the Premier League and Champions League trophies, whilst Spurs will be looking to secure passage in the Europa League prior to the Final, and are fighting for a top four finish in the Premier League.
Ensuring a first trophy of the season will do much to brighten spirits for either club, and it could be of vital importance in making sure the rest of the campaign runs smoothly. Although seen as something of a ‘nothing’ competition in relation to the league and FA Cup, losing the Final is likely to disappoint both teams, and it could be suggested that losing will cause friction throughout the rest of the season.
It is hard to judge a winner for the game prior to kick-off, with both teams impressing in various aspects of their game. Chelsea have all the experience of winning cups, and a coach who excels at single game management, whilst Spurs have developed a team who defeated this Blues side 5-3 at the beginning of this year.
There are signs that the Lilywhites' incredible run of form is starting to stall - they have one defeat and two draws in their last three games - but the game could be the catalyst for success for the remainder of the season.
This psychological benefit is one of the main reasons that one Chelsea star wants to win the tie, with Branislav Ivanovic telling the official Blues website that they need to use this benefit to find success in the Premier League and Champions League.
Speaking in the build-up to the game, Ivanovic said: “Psychologically it’s very important. After the game we will just have the league and the Champions League to focus on, but winning this final could give us a massive psychological advantage before the last few months of the season. We need to take that and use it.
“This group of players with this manager hasn’t won a trophy yet so it’s a massive for us. The manager knows how to manage that situation. He has the experience of a lot of finals and so do we. A final is a completely different game from any other, so we have to expect everything and be ready for everything.”