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Sunday 17 December 2017

Mikel: We must keep our double dreams alive

John Obi Mikel admits the Chelsea players need to pull together if they are to keep their dreams of the double alive.

The Nigerian midfielder insists every player now has to prove they are worthy of their place after two hugely disappointing results.

Mikel conceded there were basic errors in the 1-1 draw at Blackburn yesterday, which followed the exit from the Champions League at the hands of Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.

The 22-year-old insisted, however, that a team meeting with owner Roman Abramovich was not to read the riot act but for the Russian billionaire to show his support.

Mikel said: "We are all professionals and when things are not going well we mustn't be down. This is when we need everyone to show support and to be together; team, fans and coaching staff, and hopefully we can put things right.

"It has been really, really difficult but the manager has been there for us and we all are sticking together. We have a game against Portsmouth and we have to go there and win."

Asked if it was up to the players to prove they deserved to stay at the club, Mikel replied: "I think if we keep going like this then it is down to that. But we have to fight as a team, not as individuals."

Abramovich's appearance at last week's meeting had led to much speculation about the nature of his remarks to the players.

"We still have the Double to win and that's what he came to assure us," Mikel said.

"He's a football fan and understands but at the same time he wants us to put things right.

"Everyone was shattered after losing to Inter, which is why he came over -- to tell us to keep going.

"I think the belief, mentality and everything is still there. In football sometimes you have a bad spell and we are having ours right now. We made the mistakes so we have to repair it."

Mikel admitted Chelsea had not shown enough backbone on a bad pitch against a rugged Blackburn side. The result leaves Chelsea four points behind Manchester United and two behind Arsenal, though with a game in hand.

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