Mikel Obi spoke this morning to BBC’s Football Focus as Chelsea prepare to face MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.
The defensive midfielder said it was difficult to explain why the team was flirting with relegation before manager Jose Mourinho was sacked. He said that there was no single reason why they were not performing and that it was a “collective thing”.
Obi added that “things are settled now” under interim manager Guus Hiddink, who the Nigerian international said was like a “father figure”, who is “calm and relaxed” and that this mood has spread across the team.
Obi hoped that Chelsea would continue playing well and climb the table, up from their current 13th position. He also recalled how they were knocked out 4-2 at home by Bradford City from League One in the fourth round of the Cup in January last year.
They face another League One side in MK Dons tomorrow and Obi said that there is no chance of Chelsea underestimating them after what happened with Bradford. He claimed that they will approach the match like it was a Premier League game.
Former Tottenham winger Darren Anderton explained later why Obi was getting more playing time under Hiddink than Mourinho: “Hiddink trusts him to be disciplined and protect the back four.” Mourinho favoured a midfield pivot of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. Anderton argued that combination left “no protection and was too open”.
Chelsea have not lost a match since the middle of December.