The selection of John Mikel Obi was one of six changes that Jose Mourinho decided to make for last night’s game, with the Nigerian playing the full 90 minutes in central midfield alongside Ramires and later Frank Lampard. It was his first start in the Champions League this season and the midfielder impressed, completing 94% of his passes and winning all of his tackles. The 26-year-old is impressed with the manner in which we have turned around our fortunes in Europe, following a disappointing start to our Champions League campaign.
‘The first game against Basel wasn’t a great performance or result, but since then we’ve won every game in the group,’ Mikel pointed out. ‘We had to perform under pressure in the Champions League and we have dealt with that pressure. You can say we are in the driving seat now, and it was very important to put ourselves in that position.
‘We talked about it before the game last night, that if we won we would be in a very good position to qualify. We took our chances against Schalke and if we win our next game we will be nearly there. We have to keep playing well and do what the manager wants us to do, together as a team; when we do that he’s a very happy guy.
‘He said how disappointed he was after the Newcastle game and I think that’s what you expect from your manager because we all expect to win every game. We were all very disappointed with the way we performed against Newcastle, those that were playing and those that weren’t, but we managed to put it right tonight. It was a fantastic win for us; we scored three goals and played well.’
Mikel also spoke of his delight for Samuel Eto’o, whose two goals yesterday were his first in European competition for Chelsea. Following on from the recent goalscoring exploits of Fernando Torres, as well as Demba Ba’s first of the season last night, Mikel is not surprised that our strikers are starting to find the back of the net with such regularity.
‘I think Samuel (Eto’o) is quite different from Fernando (Torres), who is more direct, but he is a fantastic player as well. He knows when to run, when to stay and when to move. His ability with the ball is fantastic,’ said Mikel.
‘He worked really hard for his first goal. He does it in training; he’s a striker who loves to press, and it’s our duty to do that behind him in midfield as well. The second was a well-taken finish past the keeper, and we see that all the time.
‘We’ve got some brilliant strikers and we all knew it was just a matter of time before they started scoring. Samuel is a fantastic player and we all know what he can bring to this Chelsea side.’