John Obi Mikel believes Chelsea’s players are thriving under interim manager Guus Hiddink’s more relaxed approach.
Before the Blues’ 2-1 Champions League defeat at PSG, the Londoners had gone 11 matches unbeaten after Hiddink was appointed following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
Midfielder Mikel, who scored a crucial away goal at the Parc des Princes, has been brought in from the cold to become a key member of the Dutchman’s starting XI, and the Nigerian has paid tribute to the manager’s impact.
“Guus has come in again and settled the ship. Players feels free to play and free to have responsibility,” he said.
“We thrive on responsibility but do it in a very relaxed way, which is sometimes what players need. Guus has come in and done that. We’re picking up results in the league and we’re very much in this Champions League tie.
“We’ve been through a difficult period, no doubt about it, but under Guus we’re picking up results, doing really well back home in the league. This was the first game under Guus in Europe and we’re still very much in the tie.
“The second leg will be massive and hopefully this away goal is going to be decisive. If we get a 1-0 win, we’re through.”
With the future of Chelsea captain John Terry in doubt, Mikel could find himself the longest serving player at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
“It is my 10th season so I don’t know maybe a testimonial soon!” he added.
“It feels great to be back in the team. It’s disappointing not to play but I’ve always been professional. I never speak out, I never get upset. I’ve always believed in myself and Guus came in and has given me the opportunity.”