John Obi Mikel captained Stoke City to their first Championship victory at home this season with a 3-2 win over Brentford on Saturday.

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neil says John Mikel Obi has played a key role in the club’s impressive performance in the Sky Bet Championship this season.

The Potters currently occupy eighth position on the table with 18 points from 11 games, four points adrift of leaders Reading.

O’Neil’s side have also kept nine clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Mikel has played every minute of Stoke City’s 11 championship games churning out impressive performances.

“Our number of clean sheets has been impressive. I think even going back to the start of this calendar year, I think we rank among the best in the division in terms of clean sheets,” O’Neil told a news conference on Friday.

“It’s important how we defend as a team, not just a back four.

“John Obi MIkel has made us stronger in that area as well, we’re stronger in midfield and we’ve been stronger as a unit in how we defend from the front.

“Joe will come into a team that will believe that it can’t concede and has kept a number of clean sheets this season.”

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