Mikel Obi returned to action on Wednesday to help Chelsea to a 1-0 victory against Norwich after serving out his three-match ban for unsportsmanlike behaviour towards Mark Clattenburg.
The Nigerian international rues the ban as he will have to miss matches in January and February as he will be representing Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations Cup in South Africa.
“After the Norwich match there are only two more games and I'll be away again,” Obi told his club’s official website.
“I think we have to meet up on January 4, and the manager said he wants to rotate the team and bring in fresh legs.
“I've been playing since he[Rafael Benitez] started, so it's probably been good to have a week or two off to recover a little and get the legs going again.
“I also played the first game in Japan which was quite good. Unfortunately I didn't play in the final, I missed the last game and then Sunday was the last game to miss.'
Obi missed last Saturday’s 8-0 whitewash of Aston Villa where David Luiz impressed in midfield.
Next up for Chelsea is an away trip to Goodison Park to meet Everton, who are yet to lose on their home patch.
“We don't need anybody to tell us about how hard it is to play at Everton; it's always a difficult place to go for anybody.
“On their day they can beat any team at Goodison Park, and they're in good form too.
“They will both be tough, but if we do well we can get something out of them if we are on our game,” he concluded.
Obi is expected to join the Super Eagles in Faro to play the last friendly match against the Cape Verde Islands on January 9.