'Deserving it': Tuchel says 25-year-old has earned the right to play more minutes for Chelsea
Thomas Tuchel gave Ruben Loftus-Cheek a confidence booster by suggesting his recent Chelsea appearances had been merited.
Speaking to the club website, Tuchel issued some positive words about Loftus-Cheek after a generally negative weekend.
The midfielder featured in his third successive Blues game on Saturday during the 1-0 Premier League defeat to Manchester City.
Not since July 2020 had the Englishman played three times in a row for Chelsea.
Although the outing only lasted a quarter of an hour, it hinted that the 25-year-old had reclaimed his manager’s trust.
Loftus-Cheek was brought on ahead of Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Saul Niguez at a point in the game where Chelsea were chasing the result.
He might have failed to impact the result of the tie, but to even be considered at the stage is a compliment in itself.
Ruben on the rise
“I was happy with Ruben, otherwise he could not have had the chance to come on,” explained Tuchel.
“He played against Zenit and he played against Aston Villa, and now he played this 15 minutes.
“He could not be involved without deserving it.”
Admittedly, Loftus-Cheek has only started one of the previous three fixtures, arguably the most insignificant.
A full 90 minutes against Aston Villa in the League Cup was preceded by a 60-second substitute role versus Zenit in the Champions League.
But the student of Cobham’s footballing school will just be grateful to be out on the pitch at all.
It was touch and go whether he would be loaned or sold in the summer.
So many from Chelsea’s squad faced the chop, including first-teamers Kurt Zouma, Tammy Abraham Olivier Giroud, Emerson Palmieri and Billy Gilmour.
However, Loftus-Cheek held down his spot at Stamford Bridge and is beginning to reap the rewards of his coach’s faith.