Mikel wards off winter woes
John Obi Mikel is confident Chelsea can avoid yet another case of the winter blues by beating Manchester United in Sunday's top-of-the-table Barclays Premier League showdown.
The European champions go into this weekend's game having suffered their first major setback of the season in Tuesday's Champions League game at Shakhtar Donetsk. The 2-1 defeat came at the time of year when Chelsea have suffered a slump in three of the past four seasons that have ultimately cost them in the title race.
Defeat on Sunday would raise the spectre of a repeat, but Mikel said: "All of us know what has happened in recent seasons, so we have to make sure that this defeat doesn't make that happen again. We have to make sure we correct it very quickly and that starts with the next game against United."
He went on: "They will be very dangerous as usual and, if we defend the way we did [against Shakhtar], it's going to be difficult for us.
"We have to defend as a unit, play together as a unit. As long as we do that on Sunday, we'll have a very good chance."
With John Terry banned and the results of Frank Lampard's calf scan expected to be revealed on Friday, Mikel could be one of Chelsea's outfield players on Sunday with the most experience of fixtures against United.
The 25-year-old controversially snubbed a move to Old Trafford to join the Blues from Lyn in 2005, leading to a bitter legal dispute.
But Mikel said of facing United once again: "There's no extra edge for me.
"I've got over it and I think they have got over it as well.
"It's just a normal game for me. It's going to be a great game. We have to pick ourselves up. It's going to be difficult but we have to do that."