Blues must focus on cup redemption, warns Mikel

John Obi Mikel has urged Chelsea not to let their crushing defeat to Newcastle wreck their chances of securing FA Cup and Champions League glory.

Midfielder Mikel admitted the Blues would almost certainly have to win the Champions League final on May 19 if they are to qualify for next season’s competition after last night’s 2-0 home defeat to the Magpies.

The result left Roberto Di Matteo’s men four points adrift of the Premier League top four with just two games to play and put a serious dent in the caretaker manager’s hopes of being appointed full-time.

The Blues cannot afford to wallow in last night’s defeat if they are to beat Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup final at Wembley and stay on course for one of the greatest seasons in their history.

Acknowledging beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in just over a fortnight was Chelsea’s only realistic hope of avoiding failure to reach the Champions League for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the club, Mikel said: “We have to concentrate. Everyone is going to say that the only chance we have now is to win the Champions League final.

“It is what everyone wants, it is what the fans want and it is what we want. But we have to make sure now that we win on Saturday in the cup final and make sure that we don’t let the cup final go past us.”

Chelsea picked the wrong time to produce arguably their poorest performance since Di Matteo took charge, with Newcastle thoroughly deserving their first league win at Stamford Bridge since 1986. The Magpies gave the Blues a dose of their own medicine, striking with ruthless efficiency thanks to one of the best braces you could ever hope to see, from Papiss Cisse.

Mikel said: “It was just one of those days.

“We played Barcelona the other day. They created God knows how many chances and they couldn’t score, but we scored. This is football. We have to forget about it, go back to training and go back to what we have been doing up until now and just make sure we put it right on Saturday.”

Roberto Di Matteo’s decision to play all three of Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole in Sunday’s thrashing of QPR but to rest the trio last night arguably backfired.

Mikel said after what was only the Italian’s second defeat in his 17 games at the helm: “When the manager makes changes like this, sometimes it’s good. He’s been making changes and it’s been working. We have been playing well, we’ve been creating chances and the team spirit has been there.”

* Arjen Robben has signed a two-year contract extension to keep him at Bayern Munich until 2015.

Robben, 28, said: “FC Bayern is like a family to me. Two of my three children were born in Munich, and my family and I feel at home here.”

Bayern face Chelsea in Munich in the Champions League final.


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