Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed why John Obi Mikel can be the best player in a blue shirt on a given match day, despite featuring infrequently for the Blues since the start of the season.
Mikel started for the first time this season in the league against Newcastle United, and despite the 2-1 loss to Alan Pardew’s side, he emerged from the game with significant credit, with many suggesting that his performance was the best on the park.
Mourinho has now insisted that the players in his squad are all hungry to make an impression when they are given an opportunity in the first team, and this is why a rarely used star can be the best player.
Mikel’s display against Newcastle was one such display that Mourinho pointed to as evidence that his management techniques are working this season.
He said: “The first time he played [from the start in the Premier League] was Newcastle and he was our best player.
“The one that comes on in the last five minutes, he’s a crucial player. If he makes a mistake the team loses; if he doesn’t, the team wins. Everybody wins, everybody loses.
“I want a short squad. In a short squad, everybody is important. I need every player. And when I sign a player, I don’t say ‘it’s you plus 10’. I say ‘it’s you plus 21 or 22’.
“You have to know the squad is good at Chelsea. If you’re at a Chelsea as a goalkeeper, you can’t imagine that you’re the only good goalkeeper. It’s the same for the strikers. For me, all of this is very normal.”
Chelsea play Stoke City in the Premier League tonight.