John Obi Mikel has criticised former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for destroying his confidence during his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
Midfielder Mikel fell out of favour at Chelsea after Mourinho – who is widely expected to become Manchester United boss in the summer – returned in 2013, starting only 19 Premier League matches under the Portuguese.
And the 28-year-old, who was on the brink of leaving the Blues in the summer, believes the ‘Special One’ had changed from his first spell in charge.
“I think confidence is everything,” Mikel said.
“If a manager doesn’t believe in you, trust me there’s no way you can succeed. Even if you do things right he would always make sure he finds fault.
“People change in any walk of life, maybe he decided he wanted to do better in a different way and he didn’t need me anymore.
“He didn’t have the belief that he had in me before, which is fine because every manager has the player that they have trust in.
“It is a tough business, football, so when a manager comes in he wants to have people he believes in. If he doesn’t believe in you he doesn’t play you. And I think it’s all about a manager giving a player confidence.”
Mikel has become an integral part of Chelsea’s first-team under interim manager Guus Hiddink, and the Nigeria international praised the 69-year-old.
“Hiddink came in, he spoke to me, he gave me the confidence and now I have played 20 games and we’re in the best position — where we haven’t been all season,” he added.