Chelsea star: This is why we can cope despite Matic suspension

Branislav Ivanovic believes that Chelsea will be fine in the League Cup final, despite the loss of Nemanja Matic.

Matic will miss the Wembley tie with Tottenham Hotspur through suspension, but Chelsea teammate Branislav Ivanovic has told the Standard that he is not worried about the outcome of the game.

The Serbian midfielder has been a key player for the Blues since his return to Stamford Bridge in January 2014, and is arguably the most important member of their first-team squad. While Eden Hazard is undoubtedly the most talented, Matic makes the team run as they are meant to, and the rest of the starting XI benefit from him being in the team.

Having had his suspension for pushing over Burnley’s Ashley Barnes reduced from three to two games, Matic still misses the League Cup final against Spurs on Sunday, and his loss will be heavily felt. First choice replacement John Obi Mikel is out injured, and it is likely that Ramires will partner Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park. The Brazilian international is a talented footballer, but he has neither the physicality nor defensive awareness of Matic - and the attacking form of Spurs could expose his weaknesses.

While the physical loss of Matic will hurt from a tactical standpoint, the Blues have shown in the last few years that they are masters of winning key games despite the loss of important players. The European Cup triumph in 2012 saw Ivanovic himself sit out of the game, alongside John Terry, while it was Terry and Eden Hazard who missed the Europa League victory in 2013. The players replacing the first-team stars may not be as talented, but they possess the winning mentality to achieve, and this is why Ivanovic is not worried about the absence of Matic from the squad this weekend.

Speaking to the Standard, the 31-year-old said: “In a final, even if you have 10 injured or suspended players, it is what you live for. If the Under-21 players have to be given a chance, I’m sure they will give their maximum.

“This is the mentality of Chelsea Football Club and why it’s special. It doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not, it’s a final. It’s a great moment, a great feeling and we are all looking forward to it.”

With Mikel missing the tie and Ramires expected to start, it is likely that Nathan Ake and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be named amongst the substitutes - and will be hoping to win the first silverware of the domestic season.

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