Guus Hiddink says John Obi Mikel will be key to Chelsea regaining a balance that allows their attacking players to shine.
Mikel provided the perfect buffer to Chelsea’s back four at Crystal Palace on Sunday to allow the likes of Cesc Fabregas and the excellent Willian to dictate the terms of the visitors’ 3-0 victory in south London.
“He played very well but also in the previous game,” said Hiddink of Mikel.
“He’s the ideal player in my option to bring balance to the team.
“If the team is not willing to defend well, or hasn’t got the right balance, then you’ll concede a lot of goals.
“I think John Obi can be one of the key figures in bringing back that balance.
“On this podium very talented players can explore their qualities.
“He can recover his radar, he reads the game very well, he knows where the strength of the opponent is and knows how to combat that. He has very good sense, he doesn’t do it in a brutal way, he’s very elegant.
“Someone who can defend so smoothly is very beautiful. I don’t expect the decisive final pass from him – he can (do that), but he can also let the other players (play).”