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Mikel confident Blues can avoid winter blip

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 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 has ultimately cost them in the title race.

Defeat on Sunday would raise the spectre of a repeat, but a victory would help banish those demons for a side that have already made their second-best start to a Premier League campaign with 22 points from 24.

Midfielder 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. 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 today, Mikel could be one of Chelsea's most experienced outfield players.

"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," he added.

Branislav Ivanovic has become another veteran of encounters with United and admitted there was plenty of work to do.

"We have to analyse it well and see where we made the mistakes," he said.

"We've had two difficult games, at Spurs and Shakhtar, and now we have to recover and prepare well for Sunday."