John Mikel Obi says José Mourinho and Chelsea FC manager Carlo Ancelotti "are very similar" as he prepares to play against the coach who signed him for the Blues when they meet FC Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round first leg.
Mourinho persuaded the Nigerian midfielder to move to London in 2006 from FC Lyn Oslo before departing a little over 12 months later − taking over at Inter in 2008. Despite their relatively brief professional relationship, Mikel Obi was suitably impressed with Mourinho's methods, saying he is "really pleased" to have worked under the Portuguese and now, his former cross-city rival at AC Milan, Ancelotti.
"They are similar coaches, but a little different in character," said the 22-year-old, who has had to adapt to a different way of playing under Chelsea's Italian manager. "They are both very good managers and I am really pleased to work under both of them. Ancelotti has come in and brought a different mentality to the way we play, playing a diamond, and it has been really effective. We have to just keep supporting the manager and playing to his instructions."
The San Siro encounter will not be the first occasion Mikel Obi has come up against his former coach, however, having been part of the Chelsea squad which enjoyed a victory against Inter in a pre-season friendly in the United States last summer. Mikel Obi, understandably, would like a similar result to take back to Stamford Bridge for the second leg on 16 March.
"Mourinho is the man who brought me to Chelsea and this is the first time I will play against him, though we played in a friendly and won 2-0," added the Nigerian, who made his 100th Premier League appearance for Chelsea earlier this month. "I have a soft spot [for him] but we have to do what we did in the friendly and win the game. I would like to repeat that victory."
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