Jose Mourinho’s only previous meeting with Chelsea came soon after his initial departure from the club during a stint in charge of Inter Milan, when guiding the Italian outfit to a 1-0 win and through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Ahead of the European clash with Inter Milan, the 53-year-old made a number of flattering comments about his former club, much like this time around, but Mikel insists that past experience proves you cannot be fooled by the pre-match talk.
“We have to put the fact we are playing against Jose to the back of our minds from the moment we are on the pitch,” he told the London Evening Standard. “He is a legend of the club, had two spells in charge and won trophies. But we must ignore that. It has to be a different story to the last time against Inter.
“I remember he had a lot of nice things to say about us in the pre-match press conference back then. Then when we walked out to warm up for the match, he was at the end of the tunnel looking at everyone and giving them a friendly slap on the cheek. He was friendly and we had a bit of a laugh and a chat.
“But throughout the game he was animated on the touchline, shouting instructions to the Inter players. It just shows how the guy works – he loved Chelsea but wanted to beat us that night.”
The Portuguese is Chelsea’s most successful manager, winning seven trophies during two spells in West London – the latter of which ended under a cloud less than 12 months ago.