Mikel Obi, has revealed that former Chelsea captain, John Terry played a big role in ensuring Rafael Benitez’s reign at Stamford Bridge did not extend beyond his contract, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The former Super Eagles captain lifted the lid on the Chelsea squad’s relationship with Benitez, who was unpopular in the Blues dressing room, in an interview with talkSPORT on Wednesday.
In 2012, Chelsea appointed Rafael Benítez as an interim manager after sacking Roberto Di Matteo only six months after he won the Champions League.
Despite leading the Blues to a third-place finish and winning the Europa League, the Spaniard was replaced the following season by Jose Mourinho after his reign as interim manager caused trouble at Cobham.
When asked on talkSPORT’s White and Jordan show whether the Chelsea players were ‘not having the Spaniard’, Mikel smiled, “No, we were not.
“We made that clear. I think obviously Liverpool was a big rival for us, but coming into the club as well, I think the fans also didn’t like Rafa.
“I think there was something about Rafa and the fans that the fans didn’t take to him. Same as the players, we didn’t accept him as one of us.”
Mikel continued, “Then we had the thing with Terry where he got dropped and wasn’t playing as much as he wanted. Obviously, Terry always played and Rafa came in and was like ‘you’re not going to play every game’.
“Obviously Terry wanted an explanation, ‘why am I not played?’ and Benitez didn’t give him that.”
Co-host Jim White then asked if the Blues players then got together to solve Terry’s dilemma and conspire to get Benitez out – and Mikel’s answer ended up leaving those in the studio in stitches.
“Terry got together by himself and decided yes, your time is gone!” Mikel replied.
Mikel revealed it was Terry who had the biggest say at Stamford Bridge and why his fall out with Benitez always spelt trouble for the Spaniard.
“I think, obviously, one man that actually absolutely did run it was John Terry,” he continued. “Terry was the man. In a good way. On the pitch, Terry was the man.
“Sometimes, when the dressing room was not together, he was the guy that always brought us together. On the pitch, off the pitch, he was the leader.
“Like you’ve just said, there are too many players there with big egos. The likes of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Peter Cech, Ashley Cole. You know, everyone has their opinion.
“But at the end of the day, Terry was the guy who made the decisions.”
He added, “We had the power. I think Terry, Frank, Didier – Didier was very opinionated, had a lot of voice in the dressing room – Petr Cech, these guys were the ones who ran the dressing room.
“When they feel like ‘ok, this manager is not giving the players what we want, we’re not playing as much as we want, or not enjoying ourselves in the way we want, we’ll come together and figure out a way of getting someone in that we want.”