John Obi Mikel: 'Rafael Benitez taunts affecting players'

Fans hold up banners regarding Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez before their match with West Bromwich Albion on March 2, 2013
© PA Photos
John Obi Mikel says that the abuse towards Rafael Benitez from the Chelsea fans is having a negative impact on the team's form.

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has admitted that the team are being negatively affected by the fans' constant abuse towards interim manager Rafael Benitez.

The former Liverpool boss has been the target of Blues fans ever since he took charge at Stamford Bridge and was booed for making several decisions that essentially earned them a replay against Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday.

The Nigerian believes that the Spaniard's treatment is unfair and has contributed to the team's recent poor form.

"Sometimes it doesn't help when the fans are not happy," Mikel is quoted as saying by ESPN. "When you give the ball away there is pressure. This is our job.

"Fans come to watch the football and we have a responsibility to pay them back and make sure we play well. Every game we try to do that, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

"I have been here for seven years and [the fans] are fantastic and have always supported us until the end. I hope that continues throughout the season. This is when we need them the most. Let's hope we can all go through the rest of the season together. Chelsea fans have always been great and I know they will continue to be great with the players."

Chelsea host Steaua Bucuresti in the Europa League on Thursday.

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