Mikel was expecting FA ban over Clattenburg quarrel

14:48 07 December 2012

Chelsea

Chelsea's Mikel (centre) arguing with referee Mark Clattenburg. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel was “expecting” the Football Association’s decision to ban him for three games after he confronted referee Mark Clattenburg, interim manager Rafael Benitez has said.

The 25-year-old will be suspended immediately and will remain unavailable for domestic duty until Boxing Day.

Benitez, speaking ahead of his side’s match against Sunderland tomorrow, says the punishment, together with a £60,000 fine, came as no surprise.

“I was talking to Mikel, we were expecting it,” the Blues boss said. “We’ll have to move forward. It’s a problem for us but we knew more or less it would be like this.

“I think he was talking to the people in charge. I have to concentrate on my team. We have our chances if we start winning games.”

The Nigerian midfielder received the punishment after admitting a charge of using threatening or abusive language in the match official’s changing room after the game against Manchester United on October 28.

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