John Obi Mikel confident Chelsea will avoid winter blues this season by beating Manchester United
Friday 26 October 2012
John Obi Mikel is confident Chelsea can avoid yet another case of the winter blues by beating Manchester United in Sunday's top-of-the-table Barclays Premier League showdown.
The European champions go into this weekend's game having suffered their first major setback of the season in Tuesday's Champions League game at Shakhtar Donetsk.
The 2-1 defeat came at the time of year when Chelsea have suffered a slump in three of the past four seasons that have ultimately cost them in the title race.
Defeat on Sunday would raise the spectre of a repeat, but a victory would help banish those demons for a side that have already made their second-best start ever to a Premier League campaign with 22 points from 24.
Midfielder Mikel said: "All of us know what has happened in recent seasons, so we have to make sure that this defeat doesn't make that happen again.
"We have to make sure we correct it very quickly and that starts with the next game against United.
"They will be very dangerous as usual and, if we defend the way we did [against Shakhtar], it's going to be difficult for us.
"We have to defend as a unit, play together as a unit. As long as we do that on Sunday, we'll have a very good chance."
With John Terry banned and the results of Frank Lampard's calf scan expected to be revealed today, Mikel could be one of Chelsea's outfield players on Sunday with the most experience of fixtures against United.
The 25-year-old controversially snubbed a move to Old Trafford to join the Blues from Lyn in 2005, leading to a bitter legal dispute.
But Mikel said of facing United once again: "There's no extra edge for me.
"I've got over it and I think they have got over it as well.
"It's just a normal game for me. It's going to be a great game. We have to pick ourselves up. It's going to be difficult but we have to do that."
Branislav Ivanovic has become another veteran of encounters with United and admitted there was plenty of work to do following Chelsea's midweek display in Donetsk.
"We have to analyse it well and see where we made the mistakes," he said.
"These things are down to concentration and preparing for the game. We have to start well and be focused for the whole 90 minutes.
"This is the change of the team. We defend as a team and we attack as a team.
"We have to stay together and be more compact in this type of game. That makes it easier for your team-mates.
"Of course, a result like that has an effect on morale but this is one of the most crucial games of the season.
"We've had two difficult games, at Spurs and Shakhtar and now we have to recover and prepare well for Sunday."
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile