Still 'difficult' to find a place for Loftus-Cheek, says Sarri

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Sarri, who has challenged Loftus-Cheek to improve his tactical awareness, called the 22-year-old over at nearly every break in play to give individual instructions, and after the match said it would be "difficult" to give the academy graduate the number of first-team minutes he wants. "In the offensive phase he was wonderful", the Italian told a news conference.

"Any player will tell you it's nice to score a hat-trick and it feels good, I'll get the ball signed and put in a glass box". Now I think the same, but now he's more suited to my football, he's improving.

Chelsea are in the middle of a run of seven matches in 22 days, and Loftus-Cheek's level of involvement is likely to determine whether he feels he has a role to play under Sarri this season.

'At the moment we have four midfielders for two positions, three of them with the same characteristics.

"He is asking me to improve defensively and positionally", said Loftus-Cheek.

"The first thing in my head is to keep training well, even though I'm playing well it's really important to train as hard as I can to keep fitness up and keep sharp for when times like this do come when I get an opportunity to start or come on".

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He said: "If I'm him, I'm hoping he takes me off before the 90 minutes is up".

'I need the cooperation of the players of course. "It's a little problem and I don't know how to solve it", he said.

After the speculation surrounding his future at Stamford Bridge since the summer transfer window closed, Loftus-Cheek needed to make a statement in order to reaffirm his status as a member of Maurizio Sarri's squad.

"As a player-manager relationship it works - we both have respect for each other".

The midfielder feasted on shocking marking and abysmal goalkeeping to score with two close-range strikes in the first eight minutes and then added a third from outside the penalty area in the second half.

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