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Essien really helped me at Chelsea- Mikel Obi opens up on relationship with former teammate

Published on: 14 October 2021

Former Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi has revealed how Michael Essien helped him build his confidence at Chelsea. 

Mikel Obi disclosed he panicked at the sight of the big names in the Chelsea team when he first arrived but Essien helped him adapt.

"Suddenly, I was sharing a dressing room with all these players I had watched on television back in Africa," Mikel told the Athletic.

"I was sitting next to Lassana Diarra. I'd be there thinking, 'Oh my God, it's Didier Drogba. It's Frank Lampard. It's John Terry'," he added.

John Obi Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006, a year after Essien had arrived from Olympique Lyonnais.

"Michael Essien (who joined from Lyon in the summer of 2005) really helped me. Michael always told me I was a good player and just reminded me to bring the ball down, control and pass. If you need to dribble, dribble. If you don't need to, just pass. You are strong. You are fast, too," continued the Nigerian.

“If you can, just push the ball past and run, run, run because they cannot catch you. He was the guy who really helped me and made me have a lot of confidence."

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