John Mikel Obi is in line to make his 100th Premier League start against Newcastle on today, but all personal milestones are cast aside with three points top of his agenda.
The 23_year_old has made the defensive midfield position his own over the past couple of seasons, time enough to know we must reverse our recent trend of poor form if we are to maintain our defence of the Barclays Premier League title.
Despite the disappointing run, the Nigerian cannot help but smile as he assesses press talk of a crisis at Stamford Bridge over the past couple of weeks.
‘I don’t know about crisis, there’s no crisis!’ he laughed. ‘We are all still focused, we know there is a long way to go.
‘Coming into the season everyone was saying how good we were beating teams 6_0, but we knew this time would come. You cannot go through the season without having difficult times, but this is where we all come together and support each other and the manager, and we just hope we get back to winning ways.’
As Mikel acknowledges though, one win in four league games is not good enough for a team at the top of the table.
‘Everyone who knows Chelsea knows the reason why this is happening _ we are short of players,’ he argued. ‘We have so many players injured or suspended, so I think people know why this is happening, but at the same time there are no excuses for the players who are playing.
‘We have to take responsibility for results and start to win these games.’
Goals have been hard to come by for the side, but in the absence of John Terry and Alex at the back we are also found clean sheets uncharacteristically hard to come by with a number of goals coming from midfielders running from deep positions past our midfield and defence.
‘Not a lot has been said about that, but like I said we are short of players,’ Mikel responded. ‘In the game people will dribble past you or run past you. It might happen once, at the weekend it was the only time it happened, the only chance Birmingham created.
‘Apart from that there was nothing else so it is unlucky, and it sums us up at the moment but we are trying to put it right and we’re doing everything possible on the training ground. We’re working well, doing our tactics and hopefully we’ll be back to winning ways.
‘Getting a result on Tuesday was good, but everyone expected us to beat Zilina, so the weekend will be another big test, Newcastle away with a big stadium and crowd and they’ve done pretty well but if we do what we can and keep to our tactics and defend well we can come out with a good result.’