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May 10, 2013

Mikel: Chelsea is a 'crazy' club

John Obi Mikel admits Chelsea have had a "crazy" season as speculation continues over interim manager Rafa Benitez's replacement at Stamford Bridge and the midfielder hopes next week's Europa League final is his last appearance in Europe's second tier competition.

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Mikel, 26, has played under eight managers since joining Chelsea in 2006 and revealed his frustration at the uncertainty in the club's coaching ranks.

Despite earning the chance to win another trophy at Chelsea, the Nigeria international expressed his disappointment at an early exit from this season's Champions League, insisting the Blues can ill afford to return to the Europa League again.

"The club is crazy, it is," Mikel said. "But we have to keep doing our job. We're players. The board, the owners, make the decision and we have to stick by whoever comes in. I don't know what's happening. It seems another manager is going to come in.

"If we are the in the same final next year, I won't be happy. The aim of this squad is to play in the Champions League."

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho, who signed Mikel from Norwegian side Lyn Oslo, is expected to succeed Benitez next season and the midfielder has supported his former mentor.

"Mourinho is a fantastic guy. He's a great guy," Mikel said. "He's a fantastic human being, on and off the pitch. He knows how to motivate players, how to get the best out of players.

"If you work with him, from the first day he tells you what he wants from you. That's exactly how it's going to be. What he wants from you is what you have to give and this is something that he's managed to do well and if he's the one that's coming in it's going to be a massive, massive plus for us.

"Mourinho doesn't let you relax. He doesn't let you sit back and say 'I'm there now'. He wants to push you to your limits. That's what he works hard on with the players. But what a fantastic guy he is, outside and inside the football pitch."

Mikel has missed Chelsea's last five matches due to a hip injury, but is expected to feature in Wednesday's final in Amsterdam.

Benitez is likely to rotate his players for Saturday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa and Mikel is hopeful of finishing the season with one trophy out of the eight they have contested for.

"I want to play in the final and that's what I intend to do," Mikel added. "From the start the manager [Benitez] has made his stand - he wants to rotate the team. He's done that. Sometimes it's worked out, sometimes it hasn't, but that's football.

"I want to get ready for the final. That's why I'm here, to play big games, and hopefully by the final I'll be feeling ready. We've come this far, we're in the final, and we want to win it. But you can't compare the Champions League final with the Europa League final."

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