Chelsea star content with substitute role

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Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has revealed that he is not concerned with his lack of first-team action at Stamford Bridge this season.

The 30-year-old has accepted that, at this stage in his career, he will inevitably get less playing time - but insists he continues to train hard in order to be ready when called upon.

"Of course I'm loving being back at Chelsea," Essien told the Blues' official website. "I'm not worried about my situation, not getting many games. It doesn't bother me at all when it comes to my career.

"It's the manager's decision and I have always respected that. We're on good terms. I make myself available any time he needs me. I keep on training, I keep on being fit and so I'm always ready to go and work for the team."

Essien has always enjoyed a good working relationship with current coach Jose Mourinho. Indeed, as well as their previous spell together at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho also brought the Ghana international to Real Madrid on a season-long loan last term.

However, the tenacious midfielder has failed to play a single minute of Premier League football since returning to Stamford Bridge, with his only two appearances of the season coming in the Capital One Cup.

Essien did, however, play the full 90 minutes in Ghana's 2-1 defeat to Egypt on Tuesday evening.

Despite the loss, Ghana still qualified for the 2014 World Cup finals thanks to their emphatic 6-1 victory from the first leg, and Essien was delighted to help his country book their place in Brazil.

'It feels great," he added. "The most important thing for me was to help the team to qualify.

"I took a few years off and I decided to go back, and now I'm very happy that I did and I'm very happy for the team. I don't know what is going to happen from now until next year, but I'll try to keep fit and we'll see what happens.

"When you look around I'm one of the oldest players in the team so I think I can help the younger guys a little bit. When I speak they listen which is good for the team. We'll all go there and do our best."

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