John Obi Mikel confident Chelsea will avoid winter blues this season by beating Manchester United
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."
Latest in Sport
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
The dust is barely settling on the Premier League season and the bookies are looking to persuade us ...
by Gareth Purnell
22 May 2013 02:01 AM
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.