English Premiership

Mikel: Players more relaxed under Guus

John Obi Mikel (AFP)
John Obi Mikel (AFP)

Cape Town - John Obi Mikel has urged Chelsea's powers that be to give Guus Hiddink a long-term deal as manager, saying the players "feel comfortable" with the Dutchman.

The Nigerian midfielder has thrived since Hiddink took over from Jose Mourinho as Chelsea boss and, although the Blues are still a long way away from the top four in the English Premier League, they are into the FA Cup quarter-finals following a 5-1 thrashing of Manchester City.

Mikel believes the team's return to form is due to Hiddink's arrival.

"From day one, since Guus has come in, the atmosphere has changed," he said.

"The players feel more relaxed, people know what their jobs are and people are getting on with their jobs in a more relaxed way. And a way they can perform very well.

"He has given responsibility to people and expects them to thrive on it and make sure they feel comfortable.

He added: "I want him to stay. It is the choice of the owner, the club and the board. They will have to decide. But if you speak to the players, 98 or 99 per cent of them want him to stay.

"Guus has said he is only here until the end of the season but you never know, he might change his mind."