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Loftus-Cheek on resurgence, recovery, and relegation fight

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Getting back in the groove

Fulham v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The decision to send Ruben Loftus-Cheek away this season was made for a very different purpose than for most of our other loanees. He did not move out to continue his development, like, say, a certain Conor Gallagher, nor does he have to showcase his abilities to fetch a good transfer fee, like Tiémoué Bakayoko for example. The only goal of Ruben’s loan is to get minutes, something not available to him currently in Chelsea’s stacked midfield, and get him back to his pre-injury levels.

Coming back from a major Achilles rupture is by no means easy. Loftus-Cheek was well off the pace during Project Restart last season, and it wasn’t much better at the start of this season either, be that at Chelsea or after arriving at Fulham just down the road. But as time has gone on, his play started showing signs of improvement, and he has slowly started getting back to his best in the last couple of weeks — even though he still needs to find his scoring boots.

Loftus-Cheek echoes a similar sentiment on his performances as of late.

“Yeah. I’m feeling more myself in games. I think all that’s missing is the goals and that will come. I’m really enjoying my football, enjoying fighting with the boys and hopefully we can stay up.”

It’s easy to overlook the impact that such a major injury can have on an athlete’s life and career prospects. Add in the various setbacks, not to mention a pandemic, and it truly was a long, tough, and winding road to traverse in the last couple of years to get back to playing regularly again.

“Coming back from injury and dealing with that, as well as the pandemic [was difficult]. I missed a lot of football because it was obviously postponed when everyone went into lockdown — so it was about 13 or 14 months in total. It was a difficult period for me personally and everyone around the world as well, but hopefully we can get back to normal soon.”

Loftus-Cheek got through those challenges by staying positive and working hard, and that’s similar to what’s needed for him and his teammates now as well.

Fulham have been stuck in the bottom three since just about day one, and while they have lost only three of their last ten league games, they’ve still won just two games in the Premier League all season. But often, there’s a fine margin between winning and losing, and sometimes, all you need is a bit of luck.

“I think generally, we’re positive. After losses and draws, in the changing room obviously you don’t feel positive, but when you take a step back and you look at the performances we’ve been putting in, sometimes it just comes down to a bit of luck we haven’t been getting.

“There’s plenty of times if we scored a penalty or got a decision we would have come away with three points, so the mood in the camp is positive. I think our belief as a team hasn’t changed and we need to stick with that to get three points.

“The way we’ve been playing we can easily turn up and win three on the bounce. Our luck might change and I believe it will if we keep playing like this.”

- Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Sky Sports

Fulham are currently 18th on 14 points, 8 points from safety, and they’ll need all the help they can get from Ruben if they are to survive. But RLC’s getting better, and so are Fulham — and in such a strange season as this one, they are far from down and out just yet. And they can do a big favor for us tomorrow by beating West Ham, who are currently in 5th, two points ahead of Chelsea.