Rio Ferdinand has criticised Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel for the role he played in PSG’s opening goal during their Champions League first-leg defeat.
Mikel was penalised for needlessly tripping Lucas Moura on the edge of the box, handing Zlatan Ibrahimovic a chance to score with a free-kick from 25 yards.
The Swede struck the ball hard but Mikel turned his back, resulting in the ball deflecting off his foot and past Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal.
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Speaking at half-time on BT Sport, Ferdinand hit out at Mikel for not standing strong in the wall.
"In the changing rooms I'm sure they're saying 'what are you doing?" said Ferdinand.
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"If you're not going to have the balls to stand there then don't be in the wall. He'll look back on this and be embarrassed.
"You've got to stay strong, stay front on and want to take the ball in the face."
Just six minutes after Ibrahimovic’s opener, Mikel made amends by grabbing - what could prove to be - a crucial away goal as he struck home from six yards following a corner.
However, the Stamford Bridge club couldn’t hold out for an impressive draw as substitute Edison Cavani scored with just 12 minutes remaining, giving PSG the advantage ahead of the second-leg in three weeks time.
Defended his actions
The Nigerian defended his actions which led to PSG’s first-half goal, insisting that he had to bring Lucas down despite the covering Chelsea defenders.
"I had to fall in because Lucas was going deeper and deeper into our 18-yard box," Mikel told BT Sport.
"I had to - if not get the ball - foul him, which I did.”
He also brushed over the fact that he turned his back when Ibrahimovic struck his free-kick:
"Then the free kick just skipped off my feet and went into the back of the net,” he said.
However, Mikel is satisfied with the result at the Parc des Princes and believes his side still have a great chance to progress into the quarter-finals.
“We came back strong as well, but we're very disappointed to have lost the game,” he said.
"Our aim was to come out here and get a goal and we've done that," he said. "We still have the second leg to play, so we have to take that back home and capitalise on.”
Mikel added: ”We must make sure we build on that. We know they're a very good team."
Mikel is now in his tenth season at Chelsea, playing over 350 matches in all competitions.
His strike on Tuesday was only his sixth goal in his Chelsea career, but it could prove to be his most important should Guus Hiddink’s men progress to the last eight.
Chelsea fans: What did you make of John Obi Mikel's performance on Tuesday night? Let us know in the comments box below!
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