LONDON (Reuters) – John Obi Mikel’s value to Chelsea often goes unrecognised by the media and by fans of the European champions but manager Roberto Di Matteo says the Nigeria midfielder is one of the club’s unsung heroes.
Mikel occupies the anchor role just in front of the defence and gets only rare chances to go for glory further forwards, evidenced by the fact he is still waiting to bag his first goal in 135 Premier League appearances for the Londoners.
“Over the years he has been almost ever-present,” Di Matteo told the club’s website (www.chelseafc.com) on Monday. “He was very important at the back end of last season and this season he has started in good form.
“We all make mistakes in games and I don’t think he gets the credit for the work he does for the team.”
“You do the dirty work which is not recognised all the time because the goalscorers and more creative players get the recognition. But he is very important for our team.”
Chelsea, who have a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League, have a difficult series of fixtures coming up.
Chelsea then have back-to-back home games against Manchester United in the Premier League and League Cup.
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