Chelsea star says he enjoys his football after being reinstated to his natural role by Tuchel
Ruben Loftus-Cheek comments on playing as a defensive midfielder under Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea after having to play in attacking roles under previous managers.
Aside from Tuchel, very few, if any, expected that the 25-year-old would be a defensive midfielder option for the Blues.
After Maurizio Sarri successfully used the midfielder as an attacking midfielder, sometimes even a winger, in 2018/19, Loftus-Cheek was widely seen as a player who provides an attacking threat, rather than an all-round player.
Tuchel, however, considers his ability to drive with the ball and dribble past players a weapon to beat opposition pressing in midfield, similar to Mateo Kovacic.
In his post-match interview, Loftus-Cheek revealed this was actually his natural position during his academy days.
“It’s not somewhere I’ve played a lot in my [senior] career,” the midfielder told Chelsea TV about playing as a No.6 against Brentford.
“I’d say, I started deep, but under different managers, I just moved up [to more advanced positions]. No.8, No.10, winger, striker.
“Now back to [playing] deep, it’s where I played a lot in my younger days — as a No.6 or No.8.”
Loftus-Cheek confident in beating opposition pressing
Brentford’s Christian Norgaard was even full of praise for by Loftus-Cheek’s composure on the ball after the game, highlighting how difficult it was to get the ball off the Chelsea star.
So, it is safe to say that Tuchel’s decision to use him in a deeper role paid off.
Loftus-Cheek himself said he could see how he can benefit the team from the deeper midfield area.
Although, he also admitted having to hold back the urge to bomb forward at times.
“When the [opposition] pressing is intense, it’s very difficult. I have to use my body and be aware of what’s around me — I feel I’m quite good at that” he explained.
“Sometimes, I can beat the pressing by myself, and it’s a big advantage for the team [as] we have overload to go forward.
“It’s a position where you have to be safe a lot of the time, dictate the play.
“It’s hard sometimes because I want to run with [the ball] a lot more, but I have to be disciplined in this role.
“But I enjoy it either way.”