John Mikel Obi is hoping we can keep our impressive Champions League form up tomorrow evening and avenge our defeat to Basel earlier in the season.
We lost 2-1 at home to the Swiss side in September, in turn getting our European campaign off to the worst possible start, but three wins from three since then have cemented our spot at the top of Group E. Mikel told the media conference at Basel’s St Jacob-Park stadium earlier this evening that the team are expecting another tough game against the Swiss league leaders but Saturday’s emphatic win at West Ham stands them in good stead to pick up three more European points.
‘The manager made it clear after the home game with Basel he wasn’t happy with the way we played and he wasn’t happy with the result. It was quite unacceptable,’ the Nigerian said.
‘Everyone has seen since then what we’ve achieved in this tournament. We’ve won all the games and now we are in a very good position at the top of the group.
‘Tomorrow is going to be tough, we lost to these guys at home and we want to come out here and put it right. You can say that the real Chelsea are back. We’re playing with a lot of confidence and the manager is giving us confidence in the team. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be victorious and take the three points back to London.
‘Against West Ham we played well together as a team, everyone had a great game, and it was exactly the way the manager wants us to play – concentration, press the ball when we don’t have it, and when we have it play as well. That is Chelsea and that is the way we should play.’
Mikel was back in the team for Saturday’s victory at Upton Park. He celebrated his first league start for almost two months with a fine performance in central midfield, earning praise from his manager after the game. He told the journalists present about his interrupted pre-season before finishing with why he had no intention of leaving the club in the summer.
‘I know how big this squad is and they are all fantastic players so I knew it was going to be tough for me to get back into the team. I participated in the Confederations Cup so when I came back I didn’t have a really good pre-season with the team,’ Mikel pointed out.
‘I had to keep my head down and keep working. I know with the manager when you work hard and he sees you work hard you’ll always get the chance. I am happy to be in the team again and I hope it continues.
‘I have worked with the manager before so I was happy he was coming back and I was looking forward to working with him again. You get lots of speculation from transfer windows, but none of it was from my side. They were all just rumours. I wouldn’t see myself deciding to leave.’