How Mikel made Stoke City stronger – O’Neill

Our Reporter

The Potters boss has praised the former Nigeria international for his invaluable contribution to his side since his arrival.

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has revealed John Obi Mikel has made the club stronger with his role.

The 33-year-old teamed up with the Potters in the summer after leaving Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor by mutual agreement.

The midfielder has continued to make his experience count for the Bet365 Stadium outfit in the 11 games he has played for the club so far.

Mikel has helped the club keep five clean sheets since his arrival at the club to their current eighth spot on the Championship table.

O’Neill is delighted with the solid defensive performances from his club and lauded the impact of the former Super Eagles captain.

“Our number of clean sheets has been impressive,” O’Neill said in a pre-match press conference.

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“I think even going back to the start of this calendar year, I think we rank among the best in the division in terms of clean sheets. It’s important how we defend as a team, not just a back four.

“John Obi Mikel has made us stronger in that area as well, we’re stronger in midfield and we’ve been stronger as a unit in how we defend from the front.”

Mikel, who signed a one-year deal with Stoke has previously revealed his desire to help the Championship club gain promotion to the Premier League at the end of the current season.

The midfielder made his name during his time with Chelsea, where he spent 11 years and won a number of trophies including the Champions League, Europa League, and Premier League titles.

The 33-year-old had previously featured in the Championship with Middlesbrough after leaving Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA.

Mikel will hope to inspire Stoke City to their sixth win of the season when they take on Huddersfield Town on Saturday.