Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic might have had some woeful individual performances earlier this season, but after his recovery from injury, the vice-captain returned to the pitch singing a much improved tune. The right back had a solid performance against Sunderland, recording his long overdue first goal of the season in the opening minutes that set the Blues on their way to an important victory.
"It was a difficult game and it was very important to score early goals. It hasn't happened for us a lot of times this season and when we scored these early goals it took the pressure away from us. The second goal was massive and hugely important for us."
"After that we felt confident and we controlled the game. We are still a little bit shaky when we conceded a goal, which is psychologically difficult in this moment and something we need to improve in the future, but in the end I think we deserved the three points."
"Before the game there was pressure on us because of [José Mourinho's] situation and we knew that. We wanted to win this game, we wanted to change our situation, because this club doesn't deserve to be in the position we are now and the only way to change this is to win the games, and the only people who can do that are us players on the pitch. We had to play from the first minute to the last minute as a team to show our character."
As one of the handful of the few players remaining from 2009, Ivanovic also shared his thoughts on Guus Hiddink, who's perhaps the most responsible for getting Ivanović properly settled at Chelsea during that first interim spell.
"I worked with him here before, he was the one who gave me a proper chance in this club. I know how good his work was the first time he was here and I am grateful to him for that moment, but it was a long time ago."
"Now is a new challenge, a completely different situation. I know he's one of the most experienced managers in the world, he has worked and been successful in a lot of countries."
"I think his first aim is to stabilise us, to give everything to the team so we can play like we did against Sunderland. We have to get back into the habit of winning as quickly as possible."
Speaking about Chelsea's form this season and the consequent sacking of José Mourinho, Ivanovic once again echoed the refrain that's been going around in all the player interviews.
"All of us have a responsibility for what has happened and all of us are responsible for where we are in this moment. The manager is not on the pitch, it is the players, so we lose the games and the thing we can change in the future is ourselves."
"We have to be honest with each other and honest with ourselves, then win a couple of games in a row and stick with that for a long time to get back to winning regularly, because it is important for the club."
-Branislav Ivanovic; source: Chelsea FC
We have seen their words on "responsibility" turning into action in our last game against Sunderland. Let's hope that performance turns into actual good form that can then propel our season forward in a positive way.