Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi is set to remain on the sidelines until early April after a knee surgery, manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed.
The Nigeria international has not featured for the Premier League leaders for the past four weeks due to a niggling knee problem.
The Portuguese boss, who was forced to employ centre-back Kurt Zouma as a holding midfielder in Sunday’s League Cup triumph in absence of Mikel and the suspended Nemanja Matic, has confirmed the 27-year-old had to go under the knife to solve his knee problem.
Mourinho, speaking in his press conference ahead of the trip to West Ham United on Wednesday night, has thus earmarked early April as his possible return date for Mikel.
“Mikel had a little surgery,” the 52-year-old told reporters at Cobhams on Tuesday afternoon. “We are expecting him to be out for about a month.
“One week he is gone, so without too much optimism or pessimism, he will play the first week of April.”
Mourinho however confirmed he would be tweaking his starting XI for the Premier League leaders’ game at Boleyn ground Wednesday night. Serb Matic will be serving the last of his two-game suspension in that game.
“I don’t play the same XI that is for sure,” he added.