Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel is convinced his bad-boy reputation has gone for good after two years without a red card.
Midfielder Mikel’s early seasons at Stamford Bridge were blighted by four red cards – including one in the Carling Cup final victory over Arsenal in 2007 – and 27 yellow cards.
But the Nigeria international has only picked up two bookings so far this season and has not seen red since January 2008 against Everton.
Mikel puts the dramatic improvement in his disciplinary record down to adapting to the English game.
“English football is always something crazy and, when you come into the Premier League, you must adapt to it somehow,” said Mikel. “I guess the timing of those tackles was the area I had to improve and I think I’ve dealt really well with it.
“I think it was the hunger I had for the games, the enthusiasm, that meant I did not know how to restrict myself from going into tackles at the wrong moment. It took me a bit of time to get used to things but now it has been two years with no red cards and I hope I can continue like that.”