Football

Mikel Reveals The Manager He Played His Best Football For

The former Nigerian international played under world class managers like Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas Boas, but he enjoyed his time more under Roberto Di Matteo.

Ex-Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi has said he played the best football of his career during Roberto Di Matteo’s time at Chelsea.

Mikel played under ten different managers at Chelsea, making 372 appearances in total. Aside from his first season, the Stoke City midfielder played a key role under each coach.

Most of his appearances came under Mourinho, whom Mikel praises for making him the player he is today. However, despite his praise for the Portuguese, the former Trabzonspor midfielder revealed he played his best football under Di Matteo.

Mikel played just 36 times under the Italian, but he won the champions league under him in 2012, delivering a man of the match display in the final against Bayern Munich.

Di Matteo did not last long after the success as he was sacked six months later. Still, Mikel insists it was the best moment of his career.

“Roberto was definitely the coach I played my best football for. I was at my best defensively and attacking-wise, Mikel told The Athletic.

“He gave me the freedom to do that. I wasn’t scared of losing the ball. I wasn’t scared of making mistakes.

“On day one, he took me into his office and said, ‘Listen, I want you to be the man, I want you to be my man. I can see what you can bring. No matter what, just play your football. I will back you. Go forward, defend. Play. Make the team play. Don’t be scared to lose the ball’.

That gave me the belief to do just that. I played loads of games and I was the man. I was one of the first names on his team sheet,” he added.

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