Mikel braced for match action

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel can't wait to play some football this summer after a successful week back in pre-season training.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed his return to the club's Cobham training ground, and can't wait to face some opposition in the shape of Wycombe Wanderers later today in a 'behind-closed-doors' friendly.

"We have a game on Tuesday against Wycombe, and it will be nice to be in a match situation. Hopefully we do well in our first game under the new manager. We know it is a practice game but everyone has to work hard because we know it is important to show what we can do," the Nigerian told the official Chelsea website.

"Training sessions have been going well; everyone is in a good mood. We're obviously all just back from our holidays but people are feeling fit and seem happy with the training and the systems we have here so now we have to transfer it into a game."

Mikel was quick to admit that the first few sessions under former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas have been tough, but has paid tribute to the way the new manager and his coaches have taken the sessions thus far.


"The new manager has worked really hard on our sharpness and it is going very well. There has been lots of ball work and not so much running, which is really good. You get used to the ball again quickly and you feel fitter quickly," he continued.

"The other coaches are also playing their part in supporting the manager and adding their own ideas. Everything so far has been great, we're all enjoying their training and everything is going well so hopefully we can have a good season and for me it will be good to pick up information because I still want to improve."

First team opportunities could be more regular for the defensive midfielder next term following Michael Essien's knee injury, picked up in training last week. Mikel shared the sympathies of Villas-Boas, and wished the Ghanaian a speedy recovery.

'Unfortunately Michael Essien has been injured, and we all feel sorry for him and wish him well and hopefully he can come back very soon.'

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John Obi Mikel

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