Ruben Lotus-Cheek has staked a claim in Chelsea’s main team in spectacular fashion by scoring a hat-trick against BATE Borisov in the Europa League. Despite this, Maurizio Sarri thinks the team and Loftus-Cheek need to improve.
It was, in a way, exactly what Chelsea would have hoped the opening stages of the Europa League would provide. The Premier League side are relishing the opportunity to boss their opponents around, while still being given the luxury of trying out fresh faces.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is now 22 years old and a big hope for both the England national team and Chelsea. His presence in Sarri’s side has been sporadic this season though. The midfielder played only 33 minutes in the Premier League.
— Ruben Loftus-Cheek (@rubey_lcheek) October 25, 2018
But last night, Loftus-Cheek offered arguably one of his finest performances at Stamford Bridge. It was an almost impeccable display that saw the English player score a hat-trick. It’s quite a statement. And while Sarri is quick to recognize the achievement he admits that there are still things that warrant improvement.
“He played very, very well. In the offensive phase he was wonderful. I told him at the beginning of the season I thought he was a very good player. Now I think the same, but now he’s more suited to my football, he’s improving.”
“He needs to improve in the defensive phase, but not only Loftus. At the moment we have four midfielders for two positions – three of them with the same characteristics, of being offensive midfielders. Only [N’Golo] Kante is a defensive midfielder,” Sarri says.
Loftus-Cheek was the highest scoring player in the FootballCoin contest for the Europa League, managing an impressive 42 points on the Easy scoring system. Several websites noted that the player put in a performance deserving a perfect 10.
The manager went on to talk about his limited options in terms of squad selection and difficulty of pairing up Ross Barkley with Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Sarri hopes that both players will looking to add to their skills and contribute to the team’s choices.
“I have a little problem as I have to put 11 players in the starting XI and I have 28 players. It’s a little problem and I don’t know how to solve it. As I said before, I have a tactical problem with the midfielders because of their characteristics.”
“We need to work and they have to improve in the defensive phase. In the future I may be able to put Barkley and Loftus in the same starting XI,” Sarri told reporters.
Chelsea’s next hurdle is playing away to Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday. The Londoners are enjoying an unbeaten season and are trailing just two points off leaders Manchester City. Naturally, FootballCoin will feature the game in its free Premier League contest. Don’t forget to create your perfect draft and join the contest.