Mikel confident Blues can bounce back
Having featured at the weekend in Chelsea's only league defeat of the season so far, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, the Nigerian midfielder faced some difficult questions on the team's performance at Eastlands.
When questioned on how the result would affect the previously unbeaten defending champions, Mikel was realistic with his assessment.
“I think we have played seven games this season and we knew that one day, in one game this would happen [the defeat], we went out there to win the game and they played the counter-attack. We can keep our heads up, keep training hard, keeping working hard and go out there to win and it won't affect our players.”
Chelsea are widely regarded in many quarters as being the most physically imposing of the top sides in the Premier League, yet reports after Saturday’s loss suggested that the Blues were outfought and outmuscled by their opponants, a suggestion that Mikel was quick to address.
“Outfought? I think we were tough, it was an even game and City didn’t play better than us. I think we had about the same possession in the match and we were unlucky. They beat us with a counter attack and we knew that would be their game plan, the manager spoke about this before the game but this is football.”
A key factor in Chelsea’s success in recent seasons has been the side's ability to bounce back from defeats or poor performances and go on to win successive games, yet the Nigerian midfielder does not believe that the Blues need look too deeply into the Manchester City game and instead focus on the challenges that lie ahead in the long domestic and European campaign.
“It isn’t the end of the season. We need to make sure we play well, focus well and do things right that we didn’t do in the last game. Hopefully Tuesday will be the start of that,” he said.
With Carlo Ancelotti revealing that Frank Lampard is to miss the next two Chelsea games and will not return until after the international break, his midfield counterpart had words of support but was keen to praise his side's performances without the ace.
“Frank is an important player, we all know that. But right now he is injured and it is a massive loss, we all know that but we are coping well.
"We have played maybe three or four games without him and scored goals and won the games. He is a fantastic player and we cannot wait to have him back."
By Paul Wentworth