Ruben Loftus-Cheek was in good form in the Europa League clash against BATE Borisov, and he bagged his first ever career hat-trick to the delight of the Chelsea faithful.
Loftus-Cheek had found it hard to get into the Chelsea first team as he’s behind Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley in the pecking order. The 22-year-old has been struggling to convince Maurizio Sarri that he deserves a place in his squad, and he will be hoping he has caught the attention of the manager.
Speaking after the game, Sarri admitted that Loftus-Cheek is a good player in the attacking phase but needs more work when the team is defending.
“He played very, very well,” Sarri said of Loftus-Cheek. “In the offensive phase wonderful.
“I told him at the beginning of the season I thought he was really a very good player. Now I think the same, but now he’s now more suitable to my football.
“He’s improving. He needs to improve in the defensive phase, but it’s not only Loftus.
“At the moment we have four midfielders for two positions, three of them with the same characteristics. Only Kante is a defensive midfielder.
“It’s very difficult for me to put in the starting XI two so offensive midfielders at the same time. I hope to be able to do it in the future. I need the cooperation of the players of course. I need an improvement in the defensive phase.”
Former Chelsea star Glenn Hoddle has told Loftus-Cheek to leave Chelsea if he isn’t guaranteed a starting role in the club.
Hoddle told BT Sport: “If I’m him, I’m hoping he takes me off before the 90 minutes is up.
“The fact that the manager hasn’t suggests to me that he won’t be starting him at the weekend.
“I fear for the lad. If he isn’t going to get the opportunities soon then he has got to move. He’s a talent – with my England hat on I need to see him playing.”