Tuesday, March 12, 2013
''DON'T LET YOUR HATRED FOR BENITEZ DISTRUPT CHELSEA'' MIKEL BEGS FANS TO GET BEHIND THE BLUES
Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi has warned Chelsea's disgruntled fans they are in danger of disrupting the club's season.
The European champion stirring comeback in drawing 2-2 with Manchester United in the FA Cup at Old Trafford on Sunday took place against a backdrop of further chants about interim manager Rafael Benitez.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria midfielder said: 'It is natural to lose confidence if things aren't going well.
'And sometimes it doesn't help either when the fans are not happy, when they get at you a bit if you give the ball away. That brings pressure.
'But this is our job. The fans pay to watch and we have a responsibility to give them something back and make sure we play well. Every game we try to do that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
'It's really important for us that the fans are behind us. That showed in the second half at Old Trafford.
'Our fans are great fans, the Chelsea fans are great fans, they have always supported us.
'I've been here for seven years and the fans have always got behind us, cheered us to the end and supported us. I hope that continues all through the season.
'This is when we need them the most. Let's hope we can all go through the season together. Chelsea fans have always been great and I know they will continue to be great to the players.'
Chelsea have a Europa League second leg game at home to Steaua Bucharest to tackle this week before they can think about their yet to be arranged replay at home to United.
Mikel added: 'I hope this brings us some momentum.
'I think this is a crucial time in the season and we have to start putting in good performances. The tie is not over. You can never write off Manchester United. We have to go back to Stamford Bridge and make sure we put the tie away.
'I think with the character we showed in the second half is something we can keep that going. We need to keep that momentum going. But sometimes it is quite difficult when the season is going like it is.
'Let's hope that this is the performance that puts up back in a good plight, that we can keep going from here and end the season well.'
Two goals down at Old Trafford on Sunday, Chelsea's second half performance would have brought them an unlikely victory had United goalkeeper David de Gea not saved from Juan Mata in the dying moments.
Asked about Benitez's half-time team talk, Mikel said: 'It wasn't anything the players had to say. It was the manager.
'The manager just said we had to go back out there and put things right.
'There was no anger, there was nothing like that. We just had a normal chat. It was about finding the determination - and we found it from nowhere! "We are at our best when we are an attacking team.
'We have players who like to attack, who enjoy moving forward, who like to have the ball, beat people and create chances, and in the second half that was exactly what we went out to do.'
Meanwhile, the FA are likely to wait until after Chelsea’s game against Steaua Bucharest on Thursday before deciding the date for the FA Cup replay against United at Stamford Bridge.