The Chelsea manager has hailed the incredible impact of the Nigerian midfielder during Sunday’s FA Cup win over Derby County
The Blues were late in scoring before the Nigerian’s header in the second half put them on their way to winning 2-0.
Mikel was given the captain’s armband by Ghanaian Michael Essien instead of Ashley Cole and he went on to make great impact afterwards scoring his fourth ever Chelsea goal on the day he made his 300th appearance for the club.
“I never recognise his ability to score goals,” Mourinho told the club's website.
“I recognise his ability to play as an anchorman, to play that position in a very comfortable way, with no mistakes. He reads the game well, plays in an intelligent and safe way, but I never recognise his goal scoring appetite.
“There was a smile on my face [when he scored]. For some reason Essien gave him the armband, normally it should go to Ashley Cole, so maybe it made him believe he was a goal scorer!
“It was important for us, we were dominating and dominating, creating and creating but the goal was not arriving. It was like the winning goal.'
Mikel is in the running for the 2013 Caf African Player of the Year award that will be announced on Thursday January 9 at a gala to be held in Lagos. He is contesting against Ivoirians Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba.
He has seen support for him rise in recent days with Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi stating: “It will boost the team and Mikel and all Nigerians because it has been a long time since we last won the award and I know we deserve to win this year.” ----------------- goal.com