Mikel content with Chelsea choice

Nigerian happy with south over north

Mikel: Wants title tilt

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John Obi Mikel insists he has never questioned his decision to spurn Manchester United in favour of a move to Chelsea.

The 21-year-old was the subject of a bitter transfer dispute when he first arrived in England from Norway, with the matter eventually settled when Chelsea paid United in the region of £16million.

United have won both titles in the intervening two years but Mikel has been given a central role this season in winning it back for Chelsea and confidence is high at Stamford Bridge following Sunday's draw between the two clubs.

"When I go out there I just want to play well," Mikel said.

"Maybe it turns out every time against Manchester United I play well but I just have to keep it going and make sure I do it in every game.

"I love being here - it is a fantastic club with fantastic people and I wish to be here for a very long time. I just have to keep on working hard and see what comes up."

Six-point lead

A point preserved Chelsea's six-point lead on United, and Mikel wants to keep their rivals at arms length until the end of the campaign.

"That is what we want to achieve and I will pray we do that," he said.

"The first 10 minutes on Sunday was a bit difficult but after that we calmed down and passed the ball. From then until the end of the game we played much better than them."

Mikel has been entrusted with the Claude Makelele role since the Frenchman's departure, which has added importance under Luiz Felipe Scolari as the Nigeria international is required to drop into defence when full-backs Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole bomb forward.

As Michael Essien is injured and Deco picked up an injury ahead of the United clash, Mikel is seen as a key midfielder in Scolari's system.

Mineiro challenge

With Mineiro on his way to bolster the midfield, Mikel could also be used in his more orthodox role. However, it is no surprise that he is reluctant to be pigeon-holed as the next Makelele.

"We are two different types of players," he said.

"We don't play the same way but all respect to him. Anywhere in the middle is fine but the manager will mostly play me in the holding midfield role.

"When you play under a manager like Scolari it's good for your confidence when the manager has got belief in you.

"He wants you to go out there and he knows you can do it. I always go out there and make sure I don't disappoint him, go out there and give it my most."