Mikel Laments Chelsea's Poor Outing


By Semiu Osho
March 23, 2010 12:38AM
Inter Milan's Diego Milito (L) fights for the ball with Chelsea's John Mikel obi during their Champions League soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan: REUTERS

Super Eagles midfielder Mikel Obi has admitted Chelsea are battling to regain their winning mentality after stumbling against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday in the race for the Premier League title.

The Blues, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Inter Milan last week, were hoping to step up their chase for the English league crown but El-Hadji Diouf's second half goal cancelled Didier Drogba's early strike, allowing Blackburn to share the spoils.

The result left Chelsea four points adrift of leaders Manchester United and Mikel, who was in action against Blackburn, bemoaned his team's lack of desire to put things right in the second half.

'We are very disappointed,' Mikel told Chelsea website after the game.

We played well in the first half and we knew that Blackburn are going to come out and fight, which is exactly what we did in the first half.'

Losing control
Mikel said his side lost focus during the second half, leading to Blackburn's equaliser.

'We know it is always difficult to come to Blackburn but we fought for the second balls and gained control of the game, but in the second half we did not do enough defensively and that cost us. We didn't keep the ball and we didn't fight as hard as we did in the first half and this is why we drew the game. The pitch was not good but that is not an excuse,' he said.

Chelsea had several chances to blow Blackburn away in a commanding first half performance after Drogba's 6th minute goal but they failed to put the game to rest. 'If we had scored a second goal in the first half then I think it would have killed the game but we didn't and in the second half we lost control of the game,' Mikel said. The former Lyn Oslo player however believes his side can get back to winning ways when they travel to face Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Getting it right
To return to winning ways, Mikel believes the team will need the support of the fans and coaching staff.

'We are all professionals and when things are not going well we mustn't be down. This is when we need everyone to show support and to be together; team, fans and coaching staff, and hopefully we can put things right by the end of the season,' he said.

'It has been really, really difficult but the manager has been there for us and we all are sticking together. We have a game against Portsmouth and we have to go there and win.'

Mikel denied reports that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had, at a meeting with the team last week, voiced his frustration and threatened to sack some players after their Champions League ouster.

'We know we have to win something but the meeting wasn't about that. Everybody came to show their support; the owner came to show his support. That is what we need at the moment and that is exactly what he did,' Mikel said.

'He came to cheer us up and tell us to keep going and although we didn't win the last two games we have a game on Wednesday and we have to put things right.'