By Johnny Edward:
Super Eagles midfielder John Mikel Obi is convinced his new coach at Chelsea, Antonio Conte, will drastically improve The Blues this season after a rather difficult season in 2015-16 season when the club finished 11th, their worst ranking in 20 years, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The 29 year old who caused quite a stir when he welcomed Manchester United's new world record signing, Paul Pogba, back to the English Premier League with a cheeky tweet, told Newsweek in an exclusive interview, that he was aware of the stiff competition he would face at the club with the new style his Italian manager has introduced at the club.
Mikel who could not lead Nigeria's Olympic football team – the Dream Team, to the final of the football tournament of the Rio Olympics following a 2-0 defeat to Germany in the semi-final on Wednesday, added the Pogba will get back at him back for the jibe and that he's looking forward to playing against him in the new Premier League season.
“Great talent, lovely guy on and off the pitch…I’m happy that he’s back in the Premier League,” says Mikel, 29. “(But) I don’t want him to play well for United,obviously because I don’t want them to win the league, I want us to win the league!”
“[Conte] wants 110 percent every single training [session], he works really, really hard. I think this season, we will be fit, that’s for sure,” Mikel said.
“He’s come in and brought a different style that he wants the team to play.”
“I always want to be there to support the team and make sure I fight for every point for the team.
“It’s the first time I haven’t been with [Chelsea] from the start of the season, but I know that the guys are fit with the training we went through in pre-season.”
Mikel also cleared the air on his reported misunderstanding with his former coach Jose Mourinho who froze him out of Chelsea’s starting line-up last season before he was sacked.
“He’s a great coach, an amazing human being…I just think things didn’t work out for him in his latest days in his career at Chelsea,” Mikel remarked.
“I have a very good relationship with him, so I will never come out and say things that are not true about him.”