Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel is excited by the dawn of a new era at the club under Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Previous Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti was unceremoniously dumped at the end of last season after finishing second in the Barclays Premier League, and failing to make any headway in the club’s quest for the UEFA Champions League.
While there was much speculation over who would take over at the helm of Stamford Bridge, with former manager Guus Hiddink heavily tipped as the favourite, it was Villas-Boas who eventually got the nod from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, despite being just 33.
Mikel, who had earlier admitted to being disillusioned under Ancelotti’s reign, reveals he cannot wait to kick off the new campaign.
“Training sessions have been going well,” Mikel revealed on Chelsea’s official website. “Everyone is in a good mood.
“We’re obviously all just back from our holidays but people are feeling fit and seem happy with the training and the systems we have here, so now we have to transfer it into a game.”
Despite only having arrived at Chelsea for a matter of weeks, Mikel reveals Villas-Boas’ influence has already been felt by all at the club.
“The new manager has worked really hard on our sharpness and it is going very well.
“There has been lots of ball work and not so much running, which is good. You get used to the ball again quickly and you feel fitter quickly.
“The double sessions are hard but working with the ball makes it so much easier than running all the time, and it is enjoyable as well.”
While there is much optimism around the club since Villas-Boas’ appointment, the mood was slightly dampened by an injury sustained by Ghanian international Michael Essien, who now looks likely to be out for at least six months.
Mikel admits it was a blow to lose his fellow midfielder right when Chelsea were busy preparing for the new season.
“Unfortunately, Michael Essien has been injured, and we all feel sorry for him and wish him well, and hopefully he can come back very soon.”
Chelsea kick off their pre-season matches with a friendly against Wycombe on Tuesday, and Mikel admits he is relishing the chance to be out on the field once again.
“We have a game on Tuesday against Wycombe, and it will be nice to be in a match situation.”
With Essien out for at least the first half of the upcoming season, Chelsea are stepping up in their chase of unsettled Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric, and have reportedly tabled an improved bid of £27million.e