Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a poor game on Tuesday, by all accounts. His manager, Jose Mourinho, didn't hold back when asked about the 19-year old's performance, instead, telling the media exactly what he thought of the 25-minute outing:
‘Ruben said he had a pain in his back but what I was feeling was that he only had the pain when Sydney had the ball. When Chelsea had the ball he was playing very well, but when Sydney had the ball I think he was more impressed by watching Matic and Mikel work, instead of him working.'
‘So, with Ruben, it’s one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn’t know what it is to play for me and Chelsea it’s one step back.'
‘He has to learn that at 19 you have to run three times more than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not Under-18s.
‘The Under-18 competition is too easy for him. He’s too good to play in the Under-18s but I don’t accept that when he’s playing in midfield with Mikel and Matic when we don’t have the ball he doesn’t press, doesn’t have intensity and he’s waiting for everybody else to recover the ball. I don’t accept that in the superstars so how can I accept that in a kid? He has to learn what it takes to play for us.’
This isn't the first time Mourinho has had a go at the work rate of one of his players, as Eden Hazard found his way to the doghouse very early following Mourinho's return. The Belgian handled the criticism very well, turning up the effort in training and showing some commitment to defending on matchdays, and has since become the best player in the Premier League.
Here's hoping that criticism has the same effect on Loftus-Cheek.