John Obi Mikel: Chelsea atmosphere has improved since Mourinho exit

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed that the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge has improved since Jose Mourinho’s departure.

After losing nine of his 16 games in the Premier League, Mourinho left the club before Christmas with Guus Hiddink taking charge on an interim basis for the second time following a successful three-month spell in 2009.

And Mikel insists that Hiddink has had a positive impact since Mourinho’s exit.

“We’ve moved on from that and the atmosphere has improved since the change of manager,” he added. “It’s fine now, we’ve just not been getting results.

“Jose is a fantastic manager and will always be a fantastic guy. But sometimes football is a cruel game and you have to move on. Is it the right decision? Who knows? We’ll only see in the future.”

Mikel said he was as perplexed as anyone as to why Chelsea have struggled so far this season, but added Hiddink knows how to turn things around.

“He hasn’t changed much yet, but he was here before and he knows the place and all the staff,” Mikel said. “The players are different — only me and JT [Terry] — were here before, but he knows what to do.

“We’re down there in the table for a reason so he can’t come in and perform miracles, but we want to get out of there. We’ve had three games now without losing so are making the right steps.

Mikel, meanwhile, thinks a top-four finish is still within Chelsea’s grasp despite the 19 point gap to the top.

“I don’t think it’s gone yet,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of games left to play and points to catch up. If we keep going in this direction and keep keeping clean sheets then we’ll definitely score goals.”

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