Saturday, 18 May 2019

Chelsea accused of lacking leaders under Sarri by 2012 Champions League winner Mikel

Chelsea have been accused of lacking leaders by John Obi Mikel, with the former Blues star considering Maurizio Sarri’s squad to be short of inspirational figures.

Back when the Nigeria international graced the books at Stamford Bridge, a number of talismanic figures lined up alongside him.

John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba were iconic performers who set the standard for those around them.

Others were, however, prepared to do their part, with Mikel among those willing to step up and make his voice heard.

He spent over 10 years in west London, winning two Premier League titles and the Champions League, and feels Chelsea have regressed in the two years since he departed.

Sarri’s side have secured another top-four finish, while reaching the finals of the Carabao Cup and Europa League, but questions have been asked of them throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

Mikel believes part of the problem is that not enough players are taking responsibility.

There may still be plenty of international stars in the Blues squad, but they lack the “edge” required to challenge for the grandest of prizes.

“When I watch them now, they’re fantastic players but I don’t see leaders,” Mikel told The Sun.

“During our time I could scream at Didier Drogba or Lampard.

“I was 24 or 25 years old but I could voice my opinion and it would be heard.

“Now when I watch them, there’s no one talking to each other, taking responsibility of being the leader.

“You need that edge and right now that’s what they’re lacking.”

Chelsea have the chance to prove that they have the stomach for a fight when taking on Arsenal in the Europa League final.
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That contest, which has sparked plenty of controversy, is due to take place in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on May 29.

Sarri’s side already have Champions League qualification secured through their Premier League standing, but will want to end the campaign with tangible reward for their efforts.

They may have to search for leaders within their existing squad as they face a transfer ban, imposed by UEFA, which they are appealing.

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