Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic's hamstring injury could be a blessing in disguise for Jose Mourinho after the Serbia international's tough start to the campaign, according to Harry Redknapp. Ivanovic is expected to miss at least three weeks after suffering the blow during the 2-0 European Championship qualifying win over Albania.
After scans and treatment at the Blues' Cobham training ground, the 31-year-old appears to have been ruled out of the visit of Aston Villa this weekend. Ivanovic could end up missing seven games in all, including the Champions League double-header against Dynamo Kiev and the visit of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on 31 October.
Ivanovic has been among Chelsea's poorest performers this term and has played a central role in the club losing four of their opening eight Premier League games in the worst start to a title defence for 20 years. Mourinho has hesitated from dropping Ivanovic and deploying Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back, apparently due to his lack of confidence in new signings Baba Rahman and Papy Djilobodji, who should both be capable of deputising for the Spaniard.
But with Ivanovic, one of the standout players from the last campaign which saw Chelsea win the league title and the Capital One Cup, set for a spell on the sidelines, former Spurs manager Redknapp feels his time off from the game could benefit the defender in the long run. The ex-Lokomotiv Moscow man is being urged to analyse his game to help cut out his mistakes.
"Branislav Ivanovic's injury could be a good thing for Chelsea," Redknapp told the Evening Standard. "A year ago, he was probably the best right-back in the Premier League but he has had one shocker after another for so long that it might do him some good to be out of the spotlight for a while.
"Jose Mourinho will talk to him about his game and what is letting him down at the moment. But there won't be much he can say that Ivanovic doesn't already know because he has been around long enough and won everything there is to win.
"You can show him bits and pieces in video analysis, whether positionally he was poor or if he allowed someone to cut inside and get a shot off too easily. But ultimately it is about confidence. Ivanovic was a top defender and he's only 31. He is not quite at an age yet where his body is in decline so confidence is probably the issue.
"It is like anything in life, if you feel good about yourself you can do anything. Things come off for you. When you aren't, you make more mistakes because you lack self-belief. Maybe he can use this enforced break to analyse his game, rediscover his confidence and come back stronger."