With Mateo Kovačić and Denis Zakaria and N’Golo Kanté still sidelined, it was Ruben Loftus-Cheek who partnered Enzo Fernández in a two-man midfield yesterday against West Ham United.
Loftus-Cheek, who had been a regular in the first half of the season (starting 12 of our first 16 league games), himself had been out for several weeks (months, even!) and this was his first action since before the World Cup. He lasted 80 minutes despite not being fully match fit, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
“I can’t believe it’s been that many months. The injury took a bit longer than I had hoped, it’s been frustrating, but I’ve been training for a couple of weeks and I’m feeling good.
“The gaffer saw that and asked me if I was feeling good to step in, and I said yeah of course. I wasn’t flying about and feeling 100 per cent, but I have to build on this.”
I’m not a fan of playing players who are not fully fit; it’s a good way to keep getting injured. All players will want to play, even when they shouldn’t, such as Misha Mudryk last week. But Loftus-Cheek did look fine, especially early on (see also: the team overall), and needs must, obviously, given our other injuries at the position.
The result wasn’t fine unfortunately, and we can’t wait for that theme, like all the other narratives around our performances, to change as soon as possible.
“We are all disappointed in the changing room. We dominated in the first half, created the chances [...] it was looking good, but one good cross from them and it’s 1-1. That gave them a bit of confidence and the crowd got involved”
“[But] believe me, we’re not taking these draws and losses and that’s it. We’re hurt when we lose or draw. We’re taking every necessary step to win.”
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Chelsea FC
I want to believe.