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Mikel adapting to Chelsea changes

John Obi Mikel says it is a challenge to get used to different partners in the Chelsea midfield following David Luiz’s position change.

Brazilian Luiz has featured in midfield several times under interim manager Rafael Benitez, and Mikel has claimed adapting to the different combinations was making him question his own game.

“It affects you because I’ve been here for a long time,” Mikel told Chelsea’s official website.

“I’ve always played with Frank (Lampard) and now I’ve played with Rami (Ramires) as well – they’re all great players. Now I have to play with David Luiz.

“It’s just a lot. I think, psychologically as well. You think, ‘If I’m playing today, who am I going to play with?’, because they’re all great players.”

The 25-year-old returned to the Chelsea team on Boxing Day after serving a ban for using insulting language toward referee Mark Clattenburg, and Mikel was relieved to put the incident behind him and get back to playing.

“It was good to come back into the team and play against Norwich,” he said.

“I had my ban, three-game ban, and obviously I’ve been training with the team. But, as a football player, you want to be out there playing games.”

Sat 29 December, 2012
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