His manager and a long-term team-mate have both praised the work of John Mikel Obi in Chelsea’s midfield.

The Nigerian attracted criticism following our last Champions League game against Juventus after he surrendered possession to the Italians in the build-up to their second goal, but with almost 250 Chelsea appearances to his name, the 25-year-old remains a highly valued member of the squad.

‘Everyone has an opinion but ever since he joined the club he’s played a lot of games, all the important games, and he’s never missing from the team if he’s available for selection,’ Cech said. ‘He’s very useful and he was part of our success over the years, he’s a massive player and we are happy to have him in the team no matter what anybody else says.’

Speaking last night prior to our training session at Parken, temporary home of FC Nordsjaelland, tonight’s opponents, Di Matteo echoed the goalkeeper’s sentiments.

‘I don’t know why Mikel is underrated by the media or the fans. He is very rated by us in the group and it’s a position where you’re a bit of an unsung hero,’ the Italian explained.

‘You do the dirty work which is not recognised all the time because the goalscorers and more creative players get the recognition. But he is very important for our team, he breaks up the play, he is physically strong, he is getting better on the ball with his distribution and dictates the tempo of the team as well so we are very happy to have him in our team.’

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