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Jose Mourinho explains decision to change Mikel Obi’s position at Chelsea

Jose Mourinho, former manager of Chelsea, has shed light on the decision to change John Mikel Obi’s playing position during his tenure at the Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho brought Mikel to Chelsea in 2006 after a highly publicized transfer battle with Manchester United.

Mikel had previously excelled as a playmaker with Norwegian club Lyn Oslo. However, upon joining Chelsea, Mourinho made the strategic decision to transform Mikel into a defensive midfielder, a role in which he thrived.

In a recent episode of the ObiOne Podcast, Mourinho shared the factors that influenced the alteration in Mikel’s position. According to Mourinho, he valued certain characteristics in his defensive midfielders, such as height, physical strength, and the ability to simplify the game.

Mourinho explained, “I liked everything about Mikel. If you go through all the positional[defensive] midfield players that I have had during my career, there are lots of similar things. Aside from Claude Makelele, who was small, I had them all tall and physically strong. They also knew how to occupy space and they have what I call ‘the simplicity of football,’ which is fundamental in that position.”

He emphasized the importance of humility in a defensive midfielder, recognizing that the team’s success is paramount. Mourinho praised Mikel’s qualities as a fantastic positional midfielder, quick-thinking, and adept at simplifying the game.

During Mourinho’s two stints at Chelsea (2004-2007 and 2013-2015), Mikel played a key role, featuring in 249 league games and winning the Premier League title twice. The Nigerian midfielder also contributed to Chelsea’s success in winning four FA Cup titles, the UEFA Champions League, and the Europa League.

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