Ivanovic backs Ba to step up Chelsea contribution

The defender praised his team-mate and believes his abilities add an extra dimension to the Blues' attacking play after notching his first league goal of the season on Sunday

Branislav Ivanovic has backed Demba Ba to help fire Chelsea through their hectic festive schedule.

The Senegal international has only made two Premier League starts this season and netted his second goal of the campaign after coming off the bench in Chelsea's 3-1 win over Southampton on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's side sit four points behind league leaders Arsenal and with a busy winter fixture list approaching, Ivanovic believes the 28-year-old will make a significant contribution.

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"Demba has a lot of quality and is very important for this team. We can change our play because of that, especially in some games away from home when we are winning," the Serb told the Evening Standard.

"He’s a guy that can keep the ball up front. We will use him a lot in December and January."

Ivanovic also praised the different approach the team can utilise when Ba is on the pitch ahead of Fernando Torres or Samuel Eto'o.

"Sometimes you have to change your style of football and try to hit long balls, he’s very useful for this team and very important," the Serbian continued.

"Everyone is happy about Demba scoring his first league goal but it’s not just about [scoring goals] because he can keep the ball and he did that against Southampton.

"It is a good thing and important for us to have different types of strikers and the manager can choose different ones for each game. We can change each match and also change quickly during the game."