Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed his frustration with not being part of the Champions League in the latter half of the season, adding that while he means no disrespect to the Europa League, it lacks the same kind of thrill as the other competition, according to the
Rafael Benitez’s side play Rubin Kazan in the second-leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, travelling to Moscow with a 3-1 lead from the first-leg and on the verge of a European semi-final.
But that is not causing Mikel much happiness, as the Nigerian has said that having spent his seven years at Chelsea in the Champions League, that is the only European competition with which he is really concerned.
“I have been watching the Champions League games this week,” Mikel said. “It has been kind of frustrating to watch them and see them play. And we have to then play on Thursday night. What do they say? ‘Thursday nights, Channel 5?” Mikel noted, referencing a song used to taunt Europa League competitors by their Champions League rivals.
“Hopefully next season we are not going to be in it. We are going to be prime time. No disrespect to the Europa League but when you get that buzz, and you hear the Champions League song, it’s different,” Mikel continued. “And we have been used to it, to those nights, those special nights, and we want to get them back – we want to be involved again in the Champions League next season.”
Mikel went on to say he does hope to win the Europa League – and the FA Cup – but that he is desperate to help Chelsea regain their Champions League place by finishing in the Premier League’s top four.
Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League before Christmas, becoming the first holders of the competition to exit at the group stage, when they finished third behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk.
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