Essien faces four-week lay-off

Chelsea have confirmed that midfielder Michael Essien will be out for up to four weeks with a hamstring tear.

That could put the Ghana midfielder's participation in January's African Nations Cup in jeopardy. The tournament runs from January 10-31 and Essien faces a fight to be fit in time for the big kick-off in Angola.

Essien suffered the injury moments after scoring the equalising goal against APOEL in the Blues' final Champions League Group D game at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Chelsea, who had already won the group, were held to a 2-2 draw by the Cypriot minnows and the Blues have now confirmed that Essien will be missing until the new year.

A Chelsea spokesman said: "Michael Essien underwent an examination on the injury he suffered in last night's Champions League game. Results of scans show a tear in his right hamstring. Essien is expected to be out for three to four weeks."

Essien joins Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou, who has a hamstring problem, on the sidelines.

Meanwhile the man whose error allowed APOEL to leave England with a valiant draw, John Mikel Obi, has taken full responsibility for his horrific blunder.

Mikel was attempting to pass the ball back to captain John Terry when he sent it straight into the path of APOEL substitute Nenad Mirosavljevic.

The Cypriots had taken an early lead through Marcin Zewlakow but Essien and Didier Drogba had put the Blues in command by half-time.

But Chelsea failed to kill off the minnows and Mirosavljevic pounced on Mikel's error to give Ivan Jovanovic's side a deserved point.

The draw brought to an end a club-record 12 straight wins at home and Mikel said: "I was going to play the ball back to JT but the striker anticipated it and when he had the ball, I couldn't get him.

"It was a very big mistake from me, but the mistake is done now. I take responsibility for it but I think overall we didn't play well enough in the second half.

"The manager was really, really mad with the way we played in the second half. We had lost the last two games and playing at home as well, we should have won this game. We played well in the first half but the second half we didn't move the ball quickly and you could smell the danger coming."

Goalscorer Drogba claimed that Chelsea's failure to concentrate on the job in hand cost them all three points.

"Unfortunately we were not concentrated," said Drogba. "This game was very frustrating because we created a lot of chances. We have to play more together and defend together as well because the second half we thought it was going to be easy and in the Champions League it is never easy.

"When they scored we gave everything to come back and then we pushed to score the second goal but it wasn't enough. Now we need to go on to the training ground and try to correct what went wrong. It is better to draw now than in February or March."

Mikel is hoping he can atone for his error against Everton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, adding that the team owe coach Carlo Ancelotti a victory.

"It is good that we are now playing two games at home," added Mikel. "We owe the manager because he is really mad and we have to make sure we win these next two games."

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