Football

Mikel settling into new role

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel admits the managerial merry-go-round left him confused as to what his best role should be.

The Nigerian has worked under five different managers since Jose Mourinho signed him from Lyn Oslo in 2006 and each time he found himself having to adapt his game. But Chelsea are determined Carlo Ancelotti's appointment will herald a period of stability at Stamford Bridge - and that is good news for defensive midfielder Mikel.

Mikel told the Chelsea website, www.chelseafc.com: "He knows the role very, very well and sometimes he speaks with me about it. He told me he was like me."

Ancelotti, who twice won the European Cup with AC Milan, once described Mikel as the one midfielder who most closely resembles his own playing style.

"We will see how it goes," added Mikel. "Every time a new manager comes in it is difficult. I try to get used to the old manager and he goes and another one comes in and wants you to play a different way, and then another one comes and sometimes it is a bit confusing.

"With the current manager, he has asked me to play differently in a different system and that is difficult at first - but I will only do my best.

"The manager wants me to pass the ball a bit quicker. You cannot pass the ball quicker when you don't have options so it is not just about me."

Ancelotti has rotated Mikel and Michael Essien at the base of the new Chelsea diamond, a role which allows Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack the freedom to attack.

Ancelotti said: "Mikel has very good quality to play in front of the defence. He has good defensive play but has to improve when we have the ball. He has the possibility because he is young and intelligent, and he is motivated to do better."

Mikel is not the only player at Stamford Bridge to benefit from Ancelotti's influence. Chelsea host Tottenham on Sunday having won all six games this season, five in the league and their 1-0 Champions League victory over Porto in midweek.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Michael Ballack
Michael Essien
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