Mikel: How Mourinho made me defensive player

Published on: 17 February 2023

Former Super Eagles midfielder John Mikel Obi has disclosed the reason behind his defensive midfield role, claiming the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho “don’t see you playing up the pitch.” Nigerasoccernet.com reports.

After playing as a creative midfielder although the 2005 U-20 in Holland for Nigeria and winning the second most valuable player of the tournament with the Nigerian National team, Mikel moved from Lyn Oslo in Norway to Chelsea only to see his role convert.

“It was Jose, I know that you played as a number 10 in the national team, in Lyn Oslo.” Mikel told Dubai Eye 103.8.

“You are very good on the ball, you don’t give the ball away, physically, you are very strong, but I don’t see you playing up the pitch. I think you can take over from Claude Makelele.

“Because Cluad Makelele was also leaving then, it was his last season, and I was just coming in, he said stay here and take over his position. He is going to leave, so I want you to take over his position.”

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