Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed how influential John Terry was at Stamford Bridge during his spell as club captain.
Mikel spent a total of 11 seasons in west London, with Terry serving as skipper for 10 of those seasons.
Is John Obi Mikel a Chelsea legend? Five things to know….
- Mikel was believed to have signed for Manchester United in 2005 but, after a year of controversy, he joined Chelsea.
- Mikel won nine major trophies at Chelsea including two Premier League titles.
- The Nigerian scored just one league goal for Chelsea in 249 Premier League appearances.
- Despite being seen as a holding midfielder at Chelsea, in the 2018 World Cup, Mikel played in the number 10 position for Nigeria.
- Mikel signed for Middlesbrough this January after two years in China with Tianjin TEDA.
After Chelsea’s pulsating start to the season, Maurizio Sarri’s side have experienced a little bit of a wobble in recent weeks.
This culminated in losses away to Arsenal and Bournemouth in January. Both games resulted in brutally honest press conferences from Sarri, with the Italian claiming the side were “difficult to motivate”.
Sitting fifth in the Premier League, this Chelsea side haven’t produced the same consistency on the pitch as Terry and Mikel’s Chelsea did over the last decade or so.
With Sarri and his players coming under criticism of late, Mikel has given insight on how Terry would motivate the Chelsea dressing room in his day.
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Talking to The Sun, he said: “We were just so hungry. Did we take it a bit too far? Sometimes, yes, we had to.
“There were people fighting, grabbing each other around the neck, JT smashing the table and drinks. If we were losing a game you did not want to be in the dressing room.
“The manager would speak and then leave it to JT to carry on. He smashes the whole place up and then we go back out and get the win.”
Continuing on how important Terry was, Mikel added: “What he said, we followed. What he did, we followed. We looked at him for a reaction and we followed.
“No matter what manager came in, you had to know the figurehead of the club was John Terry.”
Since Terry’s move to Aston Villa in 2017, Chelsea have struggled to find a similar figurehead.
Who do Chelsea look to now for inspiration?
Although he was present when Terry was at the forefront of the club, current Chelsea captain Gary Gahill hasn’t had much of a look in under Sarri.
The 33-year-old has played in just one Premier League match this season and was heavily linked with a move away in January.
Eyes may then turn to vice-captain Cesar Azpilicueta. However, although he can be vocal he is more of a player who leads by example on the pitch.
Following that, Chelsea don’t seem to have a core group to be the leading ‘figureheads’ of the club, as Mikel put it.
Cesc Fabregas, a vastly experienced player and captain, is now at AS Monaco and Eden Hazard’s future remains uncertain due to ongoing links to Real Madrid.
Although they are a talented side, Chelsea are likely to need more leadership if they are to reach the heights Terry and co. experienced over the last 15 years.