You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ivanovic scores as Chelsea beat Brentford

Press Association logoPress Association 28/01/2017

Bransilav Ivanovic got on the scoresheet as Chelsea thrashed Brentford 4-0 in FA Cup football but coach Antonio Conte doesn't know if it was a farewell goal for the defender.

Ivanovic scored his 34th Chelsea goal on his 377th appearance, amid suggestions his nine-year stay at Stamford Bridge could come to an end before Tuesday's transfer deadline.

The Serbia right-back, 33 next month and out of contract at the end of the season, has not made a Premier League start since September.

"When one player has the habit to play every game and it happens that you are not playing regularly, it's not easy to accept this decision," Conte said.

"Ivan knows well the situation and I'm pleased if he remains here, if he stays with us.

"But in this situation, for sure, the player must make the best decision for him, for his family."

Conte, whose side next play at Liverpool and at home to Arsenal in the Premier League, declined to answer when asked if Ivanovic had requested a move.

"I don't like to speak about my relationship with my players. I prefer to keep my conversations not secret, but private."

Conte made nine changes to his side and saw a Willian free-kick and Pedro strike take the Blues 2-0 up after 21 minutes.

Ivanovic struck the third and Michy Batshuayi converted a late penalty, with the only potential problem being Willian's departure in the second half after earlier holding his ankle.

The Italian had described the FA Cup as an opportunity and he believes his squad players seized it.

"It was very important to see the right reply of these players," Conte added.

"Now it's important to move our concentration, our focus, on the league on Tuesday. We know against Liverpool it will be a very tough game."

Liverpool may be out of the FA Cup after a loss to Wolves earlier on Saturday, but Conte will not rule Jurgen Klopp's men out of the Premier League title race.

For the first time in four weeks, Brentford fielded striker Scott Hogan, who came off the substitutes' bench but could not turn the match in his side's favour anid speculation he will be leaving the club.

"We fear (a renewed bid for Hogan) all the time. Whether it happens or not, I don't know," Brentford coach Dean Smith said.

"I'm thinking already about Aston Villa on Tuesday night and Scott's in those plans.

"He's got a valuation which hasn't been met. Until it is, he'll remain a Brentford player."

More From Press Association

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon