Sport24.co.za | Sarri hails 'wonderful' Loftus-Cheek

Cape Town – Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri praised hat-trick hero Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s attacking play after the Blues beat BATE Borisov 3-1 on Thursday night.

The Premier League outfit was off to a lightning-quick start at Stamford Bridge as Loftus-Cheek scored two goals in the opening eight minutes of the Europa League Group L tie.

The Englishman completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute, before the visitors bagged a consolation goal via Alexei Rios.

Sarri was delighted with Loftus-Cheek’s play, especially in the attacking phases, but also added that he needs to work on his defensive game along with the other Chelsea midfielders.

“He played very, very well. In the offensive phase he was wonderful,” the Italian told a news conference.

“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.

“It’s very difficult for me to put in the starting XI two 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.”

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