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."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific