June 21, 2021

‘The aim is to get Stoke City back to the Premier League’ – Stand-in captain Mikel

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The 33-year-old wore the captain’s armband as the Potters stretched their unbeaten run to six games across all competitions on Wednesday

John Obi Mikel said Stoke City are aiming not to concede many goals in the Championship as they eye Premier League promotion this season.

Michael O’Neill’s team have only conceded a defeat so far this term, and they are 10th in the Championship table with nine points after six matches.

On Wednesday, Mikel who joined the second-tier division on a free transfer this summer, captained Stoke City in their 2-2 draw with Barnsley following injuries to Ryan Shawcross and Joe Allen.

Ahead of their next league outing against Brentford on Saturday, the former Nigeria captain wants the Potters to build on their fine defensive performance as they chase their first victory at bet365 Stadium this season.

“The aim is to not concede a lot and once we’ve done that we need to find that way to create chances and score goals,” Mikel told the club website. “We’ve tried to build a solid defence which we can build on. That’s the aim.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and if we keep creating chances and playing well we’ll win games.

“We want to get that first home win. Hopefully we can do that on Saturday and kick on from there.”

Since he arrived at Stoke City in August, Mikel has played every minute of the Potters’ league matches this campaign and he disclosed that he is having a great time at bet365 Stadium.

“I just keep going, get ticking over and get the team to play and help the team defensively as well,” he continued.

“We’re trying to find a way to play out. You could see in the game (against Barnsley) that we did that a few times, we did come out really well. If we keep playing like this I think we’ll be there.

“It’s been good. Everyone has been lovely and helped me to settle in; the managers, the players, the staff. It’s been great, I’m enjoying myself to be back playing the game and the aim is to help get this club where it should be, which is in the Premier League.”