London - Midfielder John Obi Mikel has warned his Chelsea teammates not to be fooled by Jose Mourinho’s charm offensive, as the Manchester United manager returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday for an English Premier League game.
Mourinho will be back at Stamford Bridge but as an opposition and sitting at the ‘away team’ corner of the pitch for the second time in his career.
Mikel, who was in the Chelsea team beaten 1-0 by Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League six years ago and were knocked out of the competition, warned that the current team must not make a mistake of getting carried away by Mourinho’s flattery words.
“We have to put the fact we are playing against Jose to the back of our minds from the moment we are on the pitch.
“He is a legend of the club, had two spells in charge and won trophies. But we must ignore that. It has to be a different story to the last time against Inter. I remember he had a lot of nice things to say about us in the pre-match press conference back then,” he told Evening Standard.
“Then when we walked out to warm up for the match, he was at the end of the tunnel looking at everyone and giving them a friendly slap on the cheek. He was friendly and we had a bit of a laugh and a chat.
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“But throughout the game he was animated on the touchline, shouting instructions to the Inter players. It just shows how the guy works — he loved Chelsea but wanted to beat us that night.”
Mikel also added a message to the fans: “I am sure the fans will react very positively to him. He is a legend of the club, he won a lot for Chelsea and I am sure they will give him applause before the game.
“Once the match starts, everything changes. We need the fans to get behind Chelsea and the players.”
News24 reported that Mikel is among Nigeria’s trio, including Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho, who were on Saturday named among 30 nominees for the 2016 CAF African Player of the Year Award.
The three Super Eagles players will vie for the award with other top African stars like Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, Andre Ayew of Ghana and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon.For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.
- News24 Nigeria