Wednesday, February 17, 2016 2:20 pm
John Mikel Obi accepted the blame for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener in Paris and was relieved to make amends by grabbing what could prove a crucial away goal for Chelsea.
Forced in from close range after a corner, it was his first for more than a year and only his sixth in a decade at the Stamford Bridge.
It gave the Londoners a sliver of hope to cling to after the 2-1 defeat at Paris St Germain in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie – and confirmed his new lease of life under new boss Guus Hiddink.
‘I had to make the foul because he was going deeper and deeper into the box. And I know I had to make a challenge, either to get the ball or foul him, but then the deflection was a big one.
‘So, it was my foul, I got booked and then the deflection. So it was three things. But we came back strong and I got the equaliser back, which was great.
‘Hopefully this goal keeps us alive in the tie and we believe we can do it. We were disappointed losing the second goal. I thought we deserved more. But we can get a very good result at home which can see us through. We’re still alive.’
‘The second leg is going to be massive and hopefully this away goal is going to be decisive. If we get a 1-0 win, we’re through. We have to believe we can do it and believe in what we’re doing with Guus.’
Signed by Mourinho in 2006, he has played under eight different managers and two of them twice.
‘I’ve seen them all,’ said Mikel. ‘Guus has come in again and settled things. Players feel free to play and free to have responsibility and thrive on responsibility but do it in a very relaxed way, which is sometimes what players need.