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John Obi Mikel reveals 'signal' Roman Abramovich gave that let Chelsea squad know a manager was being sacked

John Obi Mikel reveals 'signal' Roman Abramovich gave that let Chelsea squad know a manager was being sacked

Chelsea players knew when the Russian billionaire was going to sack a manager.

Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed he and his team-mates knew when former Blues owner Roman Abramovich was about to sack a manager.

The Russian billionaire owned Chelsea between 2003 and 2022, before being effectively forced to sell the club in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine after being sanctioned by the UK government.

Abramovich presided over a time of unparalleled success in Chelsea's history during his stint in charge, with the Blues winning two Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006 after the appointment of Jose Mourinho.

They reached the Champions League final in 2008 under Avram Grant, before finally achieving success in the competition under Roberto Di Matteo four years later.

Mourinho delivered another Premier League title in 2015 upon his return to the club, with Antonio Conte lifting the crown with the Blues two years later.

And a second Champions League crown was secured under Thomas Tuchel in 2021 - nine months before Abramovich started the sale process.

Overall, Chelsea won 18 major trophies during Abramovich's big-spending reign - more than any other club in English football over that time period.

To achieve success, however, the Russian was ruthless when it came to sacking managers. In total, 14 managers (excluding short-term caretaker appointments) took charge of the Blues between 2003 and 2022.

Mikel was at Chelsea throughout most of Abramovich's tenure, joining in 2006 and leaving 11 years later.

As a result, he saw his fair share of managers come in and out of the club - and revealed to talkSPORT how he and his Chelsea team-mates knew when a manager was headed for the Stamford Bridge exit door.

He explained: "He was an amazing owner. A football man as well.

"He wasn't at the club every day, but he knew what was going on every day. He came to the game, he was always coming into the dressing room. Especially the big games, the Champions League games, he came into the dressing room.

"Whether we win or lose, he was always there. [He said], 'Oh sorry, I know you guys did your best. But next time we have to win.' He always wanted to win games.

"The only thing with him is, when you see the helicopters flying around the training ground, you know that the manager is going to be sacked. That's how we do.

"At the club, I was there for almost 11 years, we had our downsides when we weren't performing well and then the managers got sacked. But we always knew when it was going to happen.

"Once we see Roman's helicopter around the training ground in the morning, we know the manager's getting fired."

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Featured Image Credit: Getty / talkSPORT

Topics: Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, Premier League