Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov put their club rivalry aside to serve Serbia’s cause in their 2-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland last night.
The two players might be title rivals in the Premier League but they put aside their club rivalries to team up at international level on Wednesday night as they helped Serbia to the win.
Speaking to the press ahead of the game, Kolarov, who won his piece of silverware this season with Manchester City’s Capital One Cup win over Sunderland on Sunday, had said that the title race was not on their minds.
“It doesn’t concern me. I have known [Ivanovic] since we were kids – I want to win the title, he wants to win the title.
“That’s normal, but to be honest, we don’t talk about things to do with our clubs a lot.”
Ivanovic’s Chelsea are currently four points clear of second-placed Liverpool at the top of the table, with City a further two points and two places behind albeit with two games in hand on the three sides above them.
Kolarov acknowledge that it’s going to be a tight race to finish line and there is little margin for error as the season approaches its climax. He said:
“It will 100 per cent be very difficult to the very end because now we have played two games fewer, and we need to win them.
“It’s very important we do that because we want to keep things in our own hands. We have 12 more games to play and every single one of them is going to be tough.
“This is the important stage of the season and we have to hold our nerve. It is the team that handles the pressure better that will win.”
Ivanovic also echoed a similar sentiment and chose to focus on the game at hand instead of the title race, but stated that both Chelsea and Manchester City have the quality required to win the title.
“We are here together to help our national team and that is what we are focused on. We don’t talk a lot about the league.
“I think it will be very tough, both teams are fighting hard for the title and both have the quality to win it.
“It will be very interesting. We are both trying very hard to stay on top of our games and help our clubs.”
Ivanovic, who joined Chelsea over six years ago from Lokomotiv Moscow and has made over 250 appearances for the Blues, has recently been linked with a summer move to Paris St Germain.
However, the 30-year-old is enjoying his time under Jose Mourinho and insisted that he is the ‘happiest’ he has been during his time at Stamford Bridge.
“I can say yes because, at the moment, the team is doing well and things are going right for us.
“We have improved as a team since the beginning of the season. It looks like we are a very strong team, but we have the potential to make and build an amazing team.
“Yes, I’m happy at the moment. But I prefer to look forward rather than back. You don’t get a chance during your career to look back.
“You must be focused. When I have finished my career, I will have time to look back and realise how successful I have been.”