Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic says side's winning mentality is returning

Branislav Ivanovic: Serbia defender pleased with Chelsea spirit after draining spell of games and travel

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Branislav Ivanovic has called on his Chelsea team-mates to show more of the mentality that saw them bounce back from defeat in the Club World Cup final.

Chelsea trailed Leeds at half-time in Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final, just days after losing to Corinthians in Yokohama, Japan.

However a strong second-half comeback at Elland Road saw the Blues progress to the semi-finals on the back of a 5-1 win.

With a busy festive programme kicking off at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1HD, the Serbia defender is adamant that Rafa Benitez's side must target wins ahead of stylish performances.

"It is important for us to sometimes win ugly, as that develops belief and confidence in the players," Ivanovic said.

"It was very important for us to show the right reaction after such a very disappointing game in Japan. This is just one game, though, and we have to do that in every match by showing the right focus.

"We need to win the next couple of games and it is only by doing that, that we will get back the winning mentality which we had before. We know that and we are still building this side.

"Sometimes it is very difficult for us to keep growing, but the more time we have on the pitch, the better we will become."

Ivanovic is wary of the threat posed by Aston Villa, who pulled off a major shock last weekend with their 3-1 win away at Liverpool, in what will be Chelsea's fifth game in a draining fortnight that also included the return trip to the Far East.

"We have to focus game by game though and not think too far ahead," Ivanovic added.

"When Aston Villa come to our ground, they have nothing to lose and will have extra confidence after winning at Liverpool, so it is going to be very difficult, especially as we have spent a week in Japan.

"We have to be mentally ready, but at least we are at home - and there will be no flying!"

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