Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has praised the
professionalism of Super Eagles midfielder John Obi Mikel
for keeping up his performance when needed despite losing
his spot in the team.
Mourinho named Mikel as one of the outstanding players in
the Blues 1-0 victory over hosts Sydney FC in their post-
season friendly in Australia on Tuesday.
Mikel, who did not enjoy enough first-team appearance with
the London club in their last season’s campaign, played in
the entire duration of the game, but teenage defender
Temitayo Aina was on the bench throughout.
Loic Remy gave the visitors the only goal of the game via a
left-footed strike at the ANZ Stadium, but Mourinho never
underplayed the role of Mikel in the encounter.
“I’m happy with the performance of my senior players
because it’s been a long season, in fact very long,” Mourinho
said on Chelsea’s website.
“There were some performances from people like Ivanovic,
Terry and Mikel where they tried to play football and the
result could have been completely different.
“In the last part of the game the younger boys couldn’t cope
with the competitiveness of the Sydney players, they felt
they had a chance and they pushed a little bit in the last
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the teenage midfielder who recently
joined the senior team, was tongue-lashed by the
“Ruben said he had a pain in his back, but I think he was
more impressed by watching Matic and Mikel work, instead
of him working,” Mourinho said.
“He has to learn that at 19 you have to run three times more
than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play
like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not
Mikel had earlier expressed his pleasure at seeing some
10,000 supporters turn out to watch their training in Sydney.