Mikel buoyed by Blues fightback

John Obi Mikel hopes the second-half fight back at Manchester United will lead to Chelsea finishing the season on a high.

Last Updated: 11/03/13 at 15:46 Post Comment

John Obi Mikel: Hoping to get back on track after FA Cup draw

John Obi Mikel: Hoping to get back on track after FA Cup draw

John Obi Mikel hopes the second-half fight back at Manchester United will prove the catalyst for Chelsea to finish a tumultuous season on a high.

The holders appeared likely to exit the FA Cup after going 2-0 down 11 minutes into the quarter-final at Old Trafford and many wondered if Rafael Benitez's spell in interim charge would come to a premature end as a result of a heavy defeat to an old rival.

But Chelsea responded with second-half goals from substitute Eden Hazard and Ramires to force a replay, while Mikel too was influential after coming off the bench.

"Let's hope this game will put us back on a good track and we keep going on from here to end the season very well," Mikel said.

"This result has come at a crucial time where we just have to start putting on good performances but the tie is not yet done.

"You can never write off Manchester United at any time. At Stamford Bridge we have to make sure we put this tie away."

During a topsy-turvy season, Chelsea have had moments where they thought they were over the worst, only to continue to stumble on.

Mikel saw glimpses of Chelsea's best at Old Trafford as the Blues bid to secure Champions League qualification and continue their pursuit of silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League.

"I hope we can keep this character and momentum going, but sometimes it's quite difficult when the season is going like this," he added.

"If you look at the team from last year, we liked to play, to attack, to move forward.

"We liked to have the ball, beat people and create chances and that's exactly what we did in the second half at United."

At Old Trafford, as he has been at Stamford Bridge since his November appointment, Benitez was the subject of torrents of vitriol due to his prior association with Liverpool.

Following the fifth-round win at Middlesbrough, the Spaniard urged the Blues support to turn their focus to backing the team, as he will leave at the end of the season.

Mikel repeated the call for a united front.

"Sometimes it doesn't help when the fans are not happy," the Nigeria midfielder added.

"I have been here for seven years and they [the supporters] are fantastic and have always supported us until the end. I hope that continues throughout the season.

"This is when we need them the most. Let's hope we can all go through the rest of the season together.

"Chelsea fans have always been great and I know they will continue to be great with the players."

Chelsea's attentions now turn to Thursday's Europa League last-16 second leg with Steaua Bucharest, with the Blues seeking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit.

The FA Cup replay means the Blues will play a minimum of 64 matches this term, but the finale could be more congested with progress in the knockout competitions.

Right-back Cesar Azpilicueta told Chelsea TV: "We need to do the last effort.

"We have two months in front of us to win trophies. We need to stick together and hopefully we will win."

Azpilicueta is confident of a replay success over Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

He said. "We were controlling this game. We play at Stamford Bridge with our supporters. We have this feeling that we can win."

Chelsea's end-of-season bid was strengthened elsewhere on Sunday when Tottenham lost at Liverpool.

It means the fourth-placed Blues, who have a game in-hand over Spurs, are two points behind their London rivals as they seek Champions League football next term.

Benitez hopes to see the characteristics his side demonstrated at Old Trafford in the remainder of the season in order to fulfil his brief.

"It's really important for the group, as a group," Benitez told Chelsea TV.

"You could see everybody working so hard, passion the commitment and also the quality. Hopefully it will be good for the rest of the season.

"If we see the character that we saw, we have a chance."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

De Gea: United 'cannot' fail

David De Gea says that Manchester United must qualify for the Champions League next season "no matter what".

Lucas ready to make an impact

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is looking to recapture what he considers his best form in two years after recovering from injury.

Mats Hummels denies promising to join Manchester United

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels has denied making any promise to join Manchester United.

Mail Box

A Solution For The Premier League's 39th Game...

One morning Mailboxer solves the 39th game conundrum. Plus England were actually alright, Harry Kane is rubbish again and do Arsenal have the most embarrassing fans?

Why Do Arsenal Have So Many 'Internet Warriors'?

The Mailbox has an open letter from Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, questions Phil Jones' bulldog spirit and asks: "Why do Arsenal have so many "internet warriors?"

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company