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

I

think Finnegans Wake would have been a better reference point than Ulysses. Far more rambling and incomprehensible.

debra2927
Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

I

f I recall correctly, Degsy predicted a 100/1 shot correctly the week after his 150/1 Blackpool 4 - 3 Bolton call. I stuck a fiver on it as an idle bet. Paid for a stag do in Munich. Heady days...

baldini
Backing Hull To Beat United 2-1...

R

odgers prefers Joe Allen to Lucas? If this is true then I'm setting aside a fortnight to finally learn the rules of American Football and I'll give up on real football.

godzilla
The Jammy Gossip

Footer 365

Carlton Cole doesn't know if he will stay at West Ham next season

West Ham striker Carlton Cole revealed he still does not know where his future lies beyond this season.

Louis van Gaal believes David De Gea will stay at Manchester United

Louis van Gaal believes David De Gea will stay at Manchester United despite speculation linking him with Real Madrid.

Roy Hodgson wants Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard on England coaching staff

Roy Hodgson wants Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard on the England coaching team when they retire from playing.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

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