John Mikel Obi has admitted the atmosphere in the Chelsea dressing room has improved, just three games after the sacking of Jose Mourinho....
Blues interim manager Guus Hiddink claimed after his side's 0-0 draw against Manchester United that he had already lifted spirits at Stamford Bridge since succeeding Mourinho, who was often publicly critical of his players towards the end of his reign.
And Chelsea midfielder Mikel believes the departure of the Portuguese has resulted in an end to what technical director Michael Emenalo described as a 'palpable discord' between the former manager and his players.
|Mikel in action against Manchester United last week|
'Jose is a fantastic manager and will always be a fantastic guy. But sometimes football is a cruel game and you have to move on.
Chelsea have moved to 14th in the league after going unbeaten over the festive period but they remain 15 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham in the final Champions League spot.
Despite the long road ahead, Nigeria international Mikel is refusing to throw in the towel. 'Top four? I don't think it's gone,' added the 28-year-old, who made his 350th appearance for the Blues in the 2-2 draw against Watford on Boxing Day.
'We've got lots of games to catch up and if we keep going in this direction and keeping clean sheets, we will definitely score goals. We've had three games now without losing so are making the right steps.'