Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has reportedly confirmed holding talks with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte over lack of playing time.
Mikel who enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance under Guus Hiddink last season has been left in the cold since Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge.
The Nigerian international who led his country to a bronze medal finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics is competing with the likes of Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante for a spot in defensive midfield and he admits he’s spoken to Conte about his frustrations at the club.
"I hope I will get some playing time against West Ham [in the EFL Cup], but it is down to the manager.
"He has been open and honest with me. I respect him for that. He has explained the situation and I totally understand. When you have been at a club for a long time, these things happen where a club wants to move forward.
"I just have to be professional, work as hard as I can to try and get into the team. I work twice as hard every day and it’s because I appreciate this club.
"I have been here a long time, have a lot of trophies and memories that will never go away. If I don’t get back in the side, I will respect it. I always respect the football club’s decision. The club is more important than me." Mikel is quoted as saying on the Daily Star.
Chelsea Chelsea head east for a big London derby, with a place in the fifth round at stake on Wednesday against West Ham.