Mikel: Chelsea boss Mourinho is the best in England

The Nigeria international believes the players who arrived at Stamford Bridge in recent seasons are beginning to realise what it means to play for the Portuguese
By Sam Lee at the iPro Stadium

John Obi Mikel believes Jose Mourinho is best manager in England and says his team-mates are beginning to understand what it means to play for Chelsea.

Mikel scored the opening goal in his side's 2-0 win against Derby County in the FA Cup on Sunday, just his fourth strike in 300 appearances for the Blues.

Mourinho's side had to overcome a raucous home crowd and a resilient Rams display to progress to the fourth round of the competition, and the Nigeria international believes his manager's will helped them through.

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Asked if the Portuguese is the best in the country, Mikel replied: "Oh yeah, without a shadow of a doubt. I think he's great, he's great around the dressing room, around the training ground."

Mourinho then strolled past the post-match interview area, prompting Mikel to give an insight into his boss's persona: "That's the way he is," he laughed, "he just strolls around... We've got the best manager. He's unbelievable."

Willian, who endured a poor first half at the iPro Stadium, curled in the free kick which Mikel headed home, before substitute Eden Hazard set up the impressive Oscar for the second goal.

Mikel believes that those players specifically are now beginning to realise exactly what Mourinho wants from them, and expects that attitude to deliver more victories during the business end of the season.

"In training we work very hard, [Mourinho] knows how to communicate with the players, he always wants us to play in a certain way, he wants us to give 110 per cent, if you don't you're out," he continued.

"I think as a player that's what you want, you don't want to slack and think you're the best and that you don't want to run. If you do that you don't play.

"That's the mentality he wants to install in his team, and slowly but surely now the likes of Eden, Oscar, Willian are beginning to do that, you can see that in the way we press up.

"It's important for the team, we're doing well."

Mikel, who moved to Stamford Bridge in 2006, says it will be important for him and other senior Chelsea players to steer the recent arrivals in the right direction in the coming weeks.

"If you don't play for Chelsea you don't know what these trophies mean to this club," he added. "It's not a team where... if you come second, third, fourth it doesn't matter. Every year you have to win something. This is the pressure.

"Now they are here they have to feel the pressure, and they are feeling it right now. That's why we want to keep doing well, and we don't want to get beaten.

"Hopefully come the end of the season we can show even more of the winning mentality that the manager has installed into them and we can go on and win trophies."