Hard work has been made of the qualification process in recent times, with the Blues having to lift the trophy in 2011/12 to make sure of their continued involvement in Europe's premier club competition.
They suffered an early exit at the group stage this term - becoming the first defending champions to crash out at that stage - and have had to console themselves with a place in the Europa League.
Mikel admits things are not the same, and the Nigeria international is determined to ensure that Chelsea end the season on a high and inside the Premier League's top four.
When asked if he was missing the Champions League, he told the Evening Standard: "Yes, of course. No disrespect to the Europa League but when you saw the game on Thursday, it was not [the same].
"You get that buzz when you hear the song of the Champions League, it's different. I don't know [what the Europa League song is].
"We want to be involved in the Champions League again next season. We've been used to it, those kind of special nights, and we want to get it back.
"I think for us and the fans, Champions League football [is the No.1 target]. It's what this club have always been involved in and as players it's what we want to achieve.
"It's been frustrating to watch [the Champions League games] and see them [teams like Barcelona] play, while we have to play on Thursday nights.
"I have been here several years and never played football on Thursday nights. So, hopefully, next season we are not going to be in it.
"We want to be in the top four, top three, whatever, we want to be in the Champions League next season."