John Obi Mikel has taken a dig at former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after claiming the players are happier under Guus Hiddink.
The Blues have lost just once under their caretaker boss since he took over from Mourinho, who was dismissed in December.
The Nigerian midfielder, who was been a regular in the side since Hiddink’s appointment, believes the players are now far happier with the Dutchman in charge.
“From day one, since Guus has come in, the atmosphere has changed,” he told reporters.
“The players feel more relaxed, people know what their jobs are and people are getting on with their jobs in a more relaxed way.
Mikel starred during Chelsea’s 5-1 FA Cup thrashing of an under-strength Manchester City side on Sunday and also scored an important away goal in the Champions League defeat against PSG last week, where they trail 2-1 after the first-leg.
With Mourinho in charge, Chelsea lost ten of their 24 matches this season and there were reports of arguments between teammates and public fall-outs with their boss.
Some players struggled at Stamford Bridge earlier in the campaign but appear to be finding their form under Hiddink.
One of these players is Diego Costa, who has now scored nine goals in 13 matches since Mourinho’s dismissal.
“You can see Diego. It takes a lot to get Diego in a good mood!” Mikel said.
“Guus has given responsibility to people and expects them to thrive on it and make sure they do it in way that they feel comfortable.
“I think that is what the players are showing, now.
“We know exactly what to do so when he gets on the training pitch, he doesn’t need to speak. It is the same when we go into a game.
“This football club is bigger than anyone and he puts the record straight, right away. He does not hold grudges. It is finished – and we move on,” he added.
Mourinho has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League and has been tipped to take over from Louis van Gaal at Manchester United.
Although United appear to have their next manager lined-up, the same can’t be said for Chelsea.
Hiddink was only appointed as a caretaker manager and is set to leave at the end of the season.
However Mikel, and the rest of his teammates, are keen for the 69-year-old to stay.
“Obviously, definitely I want him to stay. It is the choice of the owner, the club and the board.
“They will have to decide. But if you speak to the players, 98 or 99 per cent of them want him to stay so I mean, we are very happy, we are performing well and let’s hope this continues,” he concluded.