Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic has scored four goals in all competitions for Chelsea so farReuters

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho feels that defender Branislav Ivanovic is one of the Blues best ever signings.

The 30-year-old right-back grabbed the winner as Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Saturday and moved seven points clear at the top of the English Premier League.

Ivanovic, who arrived from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow for £9.7 million in the summer of 2008, has been a key member of the Chelsea squad ever since, scoring some match winning goals for the club in addition to his defending duties.

And Mourinho insists that he is one of the best players that Chelsea have ever signed.

"Is he one of the club's best ­signings? I think so," the Portuguese said. "He came immediately after I left [after my first spell in charge] and after that he made a fantastic contribution for this club. He is a competitive animal with a big heart."

"What really matters more is what we as a club feel for him and people like John [Terry] and Gary [Cahill], guys that without them you cannot do anything. A team is an artist like [Eden] Hazard, it is a defender like Branislav. The mix and combination of talent makes a team."

The 51-year-old boss feels that any "striker in the world" would be "proud" to score the goal that Ivanovic netted against Aston Villa in the 2-1 win at the weekend.

"Every striker in the world would be proud to score that magnificent goal, it is an amazing goal. When he scores that goal and it is three or four nil it is a different feeling. He is a great guy, what he is doing for us is unbelievable."

Meanwhile, Mourinho says that he is not surprised to see Manchester City drop two points against the struggling Hull City, who are currently in the relegation zone.

"I'm surprised by nothing. In this country every team can take points. I'm not surprised but I don't care about it. When you are top of the league you don't need the other teams to lose points. We have to focus on ourselves," Mourinho told Chelsea's official website.

Also, the Portuguese insists that a seven point lead over City is "nothing", insisting that "anything can happen" in the Premier League.

"In another country I would say [the lead] was fantastic, but in this country I would say it's nothing. Every game is difficult, anything can happen. Seven points means seven points. We have 14 matches to go, 42 points to play for. We have a lead of seven and I think it's nice"

"Let's try to win the next game. If we do we will have a seven- point lead with 13 matches to go. Let's go step by step."