“I don’t know why Mikel is underrated by the media or the fans,” Di Matteo said.
Chelsea Manager, Roberto Di Matteo, has jumped to the defence of John Obi Mikel saying the Chelsea midfielder is an “unsung hero.”
Mikel, who made a successful return to the Super Eagles, on Saturday, in the 6-1 bashing of the Lone Stars of Liberia has come in for some heavy criticism following some major blunders this season; but Di Matteo said he is baffled by the comments and the midfielder is a pivotal player for the Blues.
Chelsea have got the season off to a great start, currently sitting on the top of the Premier League table, and Di Matteo said Mikel has played a key role in that and all his hard work sometimes go unnoticed.
“Over the years he has been almost ever-present,” Di Matteo told Chelsea’s official website. “He was very important at the back end of last season and this season he has started in good form. We all make mistakes in games and I don’t think he gets the credit for the work he does for the team.”
The Chelsea coach added that “I don’t know why Mikel is underrated by the media or the fans. He is very rated by us in the group and it’s a position where you’re a bit of an unsung hero.”
“You do the dirty work which is not recognised all the time because the goalscorers and more creative players get the recognition. But he is very important for our team.”
Mikel Obi scored from the penalty spot for the Eagles over the weekend and has promised a better showing at the 2013 Africa nations Cup to be staged in South Africa.