John Obi Mikel holds talks with Antonio Conte over lack of playing time

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel admits he’s spoken to Antonio Conte about his lack of game time so far this season.

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The Nigerian is out of favour under the Italian coach and is yet to make a single appearance for the Blues this season.

The 29-year-old enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance under Guus Hiddink last season but he’s been left in the cold since Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge.

Mikel’s competing with the likes of Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante for a spot in defensive midfield and the Nigerian’s confirmed he’s spoken to Conte about his frustrations at the club.

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‘I hope I will get some playing time against West Ham [in the EFL Cup], but it is down to the manager,’ said Mikel.

‘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.

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‘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.’

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