Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored a hat-trick to help Chelsea secure a comfortable 3-1 victory over BATE Borisov at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.
Loftus-Cheek became only the sixth Chelsea player to score a hat-trick in an European competition for Chelsea.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri was delighted with the 22-year-old’s performance.
“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.”
When asked if Loftus-Cheek has given him a problem after his performance, Sarri added: “I like very much this type of problem.”
Sarri also admitted he may use play Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley in the same starting XI in future.
When asked why fans want to see Loftus-Cheek succeed, Sarri added: “He’s a very good player.
“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. 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 added: “I know that the fans love him, of course. He was in the academy so that’s normal.
“My problem remains the same. It’s very difficult to solve the tactical problem without an improvement in the defensive phase with these three midfielders.
“We can try and we will work, but I need the cooperation of the players.”