Mikel, who has won virtually every title at club level, has not featured for Chelsea this season. He hopes to play in Wednesday's English League cup clash against West Ham as the arrival of Frenchman N'Golo Kante further pushed him down the pecking order below Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Nathaniel Chalobah and Reuben Loftus-Cheek.
"I hope I will get some playing time against West Ham [in the EFL Cup], but it is down to the manager," said Mikel to journalists.
He has been open and honest with me. I respect him for that. He has explained the situation and I totally understand. When you have been at a club for a long time, these things happen where a club wants to move forward.
"I just have to be professional, work as hard as I can to try and get into the team. I work twice as hard every day and it’s because I appreciate this club. I have been here a long time, have a lot of trophies and memories that will never go away. If I don’t get back in the side, I will respect it. I always respect the football club’s decision. The club is more important than me."Mikel, who joined Chelsea in 2006, did not start this campaign with the Blues as he was away on international duty with Nigeria at the Olympic Games in Brazil.