By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Rio Ferdinand was scathing in his criticism of John Obi Mikel for turning his back on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s free-kick in Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 clash with his powerful struck 21-metre opener but he was aided by a strong deflection off Mikel.
The Nigerian was one member of the visitors’ five-man wall but committed the cardinal sin of turning his back on the free-kick, and the shot deflected off his boot to leave Thibaut Courtois wrong-footed.
Speaking on BT Sport, Ferdinand was unimpressed by Mikel for not facing the shot after it was struck.
“If you’ve not got the balls to be in the wall and stay front on, don’t be in the wall,” observed the former England and Manchester United defender. “He’ll look back at this and be embarrassed. You have to stay front on and take the ball in the face if needs be.”
Mikel made amends soon afterwards when he emphatically struck the equaliser to give Chelsea a foothold in tie going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge in three weeks.
But Edinson Cavani’s 78th minute equaliser has given Laurent Blanc’s side the advantage in the last-16 clash.