Manager Maurizio Sarri says hat-trick hero Ruben Loftus-Cheek needs to improve defensively

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The midfielder scored three times in the Blues’ Europa League win to give his boss a selection headache ahead of the Premier League game against Burnley

Chelsea hat-trick hero Ruben Loftus-Cheek must improve defensively, Maurizio Sarri says.

The manager was speaking after the Blues’ 3-1 Europa League win against BATE Borisov on Thursday, though admitted the midfielder has given him a selection headache.

Loftus-Cheek’s exploits have given Maurizio Sarri plenty to think about

Loftus-Cheek’s exploits have given Maurizio Sarri plenty to think about

Loftus-Cheek, making his second start of the season, scored twice in the opening eight minutes before completing his treble in the second half.

“He played very well,” Sarri said. “I think in the beginning of the season, I thought he was really a very good player. Now I think the same, but maybe he has also adapted to my football.

“He is improving. He needs to improve defensively, but not only Loftus. At this moment we have four midfielders for two positions. Three of them with the same characteristics. Only [N’Golo] 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. But I need the co-operation of the players, and for them to work on their defensive phase.”

Asked about the options he has ahead of the trip to Burnley, Sarri said: “I like very much this kind of problem.”

Jorginho and Kante have played every minute of Chelsea’s Premier League campaign so far, with Mateo Kovacic starting six of their nine domestic games.

“I have to put only 11 players in the starting XI, and I have 28 players,” he added. “I have this problem and I don’t know how to solve it. I can ask to play with 15, 16.

“I have a tactical problem with the midfielders. We need to work and they have to improve in the defensive phase.”




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