John Mikel Obi
Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi has been given the thumbs up again by his Chelsea coach, Roberto Di Matteo as his Premiership team prepare for their away game at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Di Matteo said that Mikel, who helped the Super Eagles beat Liberia last Saturday and even scored a goal, is one of the best at the role he plays for his club.
Mikel has been the target of criticism by some fans for giving away the ball that led to Chelsea’s 2-2 away draw against Juventus in a UEFA Champions League match last month.
"I don't think John (Mikel Obi) gets the credit for the work he does for the team," Di Matteo was quoted on Chelsea’s official website Tuesday.
"His team-mates and the management team understand and appreciate it, but maybe the fans are more focused on the more creative players and goals scorers, but that role is vital in our team.
"Over the years he has been almost ever-present, and he has been very important over the back end of last season and this season he started in good form.
“He has a thankless task really, and I understand because I played in that role myself a little bit during my career.
"He and the player alongside him need to have a good understanding and communication, so that we always have one of the two behind the ball who is able to provide an outlet for us, to switch play, and also be the first player thinking about if we lose the ball. Our team needs organisation in front of the defence," Di Matteo added.
Chelsea will need Mikel to be on top of his game as they confront Tottenham on Saturday, Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday and then welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge afterwards.
Mikel has been ever present for the European champions in the league and has also played twice in the Champions League.