Why winning promotion with Middlesbrough would be one of ex-Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel's 'greatest achievements'

Ex-Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel says winning promotion with Middlesbrough would be one of his 'greatest achievements.'

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 2:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 2:48 pm
John Obi Mikel says winning promotion with Middlesbrough would be one of his 'greatest achievements.'

The Nigerian international, 31, won two Premier League titles, a Champions League, Europa League and three FA Cups during an 11-year spell at Stamford Bridge.

Yet Mikel, who joined Boro on a short-term deal last month, remains motivated after moving to the Riverside, and the prospect of winning promotion from the second tier.

"If we manage to pull it [promotion] off, it would be amazing," Mikel told BBC Sport.

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"It would be up there as one of my greatest achievements."

Mikel, who has been capped 85 caps by Nigeria, joined Boro after a brief spell at Chinese side Tianjin Teda.

Following his time at Chelsea, dropping down to the second tier of English football was a new challenge for the Nigerian, yet the midfielder is relishing a fresh start on Teesside.

"I'm still hungry and want to win trophies. I'm never satisfied with what I have achieved. If I was, I would just sit at home," added Mikel.

"I want to achieve something with this club and that is to get this club promoted.

"I love challenges and I knew coming in here would be a challenge for me, and being in the second division would be a challenge for me.

"I knew this club would be pushing for promotion and managing to do that wouldn't be easy."

Boro have lost just one league game since Mikel's arrival yet automatic promotion remains an uphill task.

With 12 league games to go, Tony Pulis' side sit fifth in the Championship but are nine points behind second-place Leeds United - albeit with a game in hand.

However, Mikel hasn't given on automatic promotion just yet.

"Middlesbrough are a massive club and should be in the Premier League - it is where it belongs for me," said Mikel.

"We still have a lot of games to play, and if we manage to win quite a few of them, who knows?

"If we could get automatic promotion, fine, and if we get into the play-offs and that is how we do it, then that would be amazing as well.

"We just have to keep pushing."