Mikel reveals family threat
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
John Obi Mikel has stated he had to play for Nigeria due to threats to his family.
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has stated he had to play for his country Nigeria on Tuesday due to threats to his family.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho wanted Mikel to pull out of the squad to face Ghana at Griffin Park due to a thigh strain.
However, Mikel was under intense pressure to feature and defied Mourinho by playing the full 90 minutes in the 4-1 defeat at Brentford.
The 19-year-old is not contemplating what could have happened to his family had he withdrawn and is hoping Mourinho understands his reasons for playing.
"Nigerian fans were threatening my family back home," Mikel told The Sun. "They believe I have started picking the games I play for my country.
"People are still angry that I didn't play in Lesotho for the 2008 African Championship qualifier.
"Only a few people know what I have been through at home in the past due to this situation.
"It was just too much for me to handle or control. God knows what would have happened to my family if I'd stayed away from this game.
"Was Jose Mourinho angry with me for playing? Definitely. He was totally disappointed. Hopefully he'll understand what I've been through.
"There was just too much pressure from the Nigerian football officials and, even though I tried to explain things to them, they refused to hear me out."