Mikel Obi misses the thrill of the Champions League as Chelsea continue Europa League adventure

The Nigerian midfielder said he would have hoped that Chelsea would still be involved in the Champions League

John Mikel Obi has said he misses playing in the Uefa Champions League with Chelsea as the reigning European champions have had to contend themselves with the Europa League.

The Nigeria international was asked if he was missing the Uefa Champions League after Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Sunderland on Sunday and he replied: “Yes, of course,” according to the Evening Standard.

“No disrespect to the Europa League but when you saw the game on Thursday, it was not the same.

"You get that buzz when you hear the song of the Champions League, it’s different. I don’t know what the Europa League song is."

Chelsea came third in their group which consisted of Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk and Nordsjaelland and failed to sail through to the knock out stage of the lucrative competition.

“We want to be involved in the Champions League again next season. We’ve been used to it, those kinds of special nights, and we want to get it back.

“I think for us and the fans, Champions League football is the number one target. It’s what this club have always been involved in and as players it’s what we want to achieve.

“It’s been frustrating to watch the Champions League games and see teams like Barcelona play, while we have to play on Thursday nights.

“I have been here several years and never played football on Thursday nights. So, hopefully, next season we are not going to be in it.

“We want to be in the top four, top three whatever — we want to be in the Champions League next season.”

Mikel and his Chelsea team mates are on course to play 70 plus matches this season after starring in seven competitions and Rafael Benitez has chosen to rotate the squad because of their heavy schedule.

“It is hard, especially if you’re physically fit, are in good form and the next game you don’t play.

“This is the first time it’s happened to me in the seven years I have been here — I’m either playing or not playing.

“It’s hard to take but it is something everyone has accepted since the manager came in. He said from the start he was going to rotate the team so we just have to get on with it.

“As a footballer you want to play all of the time especially when you know you’re doing well and you want to be in the team. You sacrifice so many things to be in the team, to be physically fit, and when you don’t get to play consecutively all the time it’s kind of frustrating.But the most important thing is the team. We need everyone now especially towards the end of this season. We need to keep winning games and if the team keeps doing that then I’m very happy,” Mikel concluded.