Journalist noticed what happened between Maurizio Sarri and Ruben Loftus-Cheek vs BATE

Loftus-Cheek staked his claim for a regular place

Chelsea had the imperious Ruben Loftus-Cheek to thank for sweeping aside BATE in a 3-1 Europa League victory.

The England international became the first Blues player in 21 years to score a hat-trick in Europe and the first Englishman to achieve that feat for the club in 47 years.

There was more to the 22-year-old's performance than simply taking home the match ball.

This was about staking his claim for a regular place in the first team, something which has so far been denied to him under Maurizio Sarri.

Will last night's exploits be enough to win the Italian over?

Back in September, he said of the midfielder:

"It's not easy to play here because here there are 25 very good players and so it's not easy to play in the starting 11 but I think that he will improve more."

So much of 'Sarri-ball' depends on what goes on in central midfield and that is exactly where the former Napoli boss seems to have overhauled his system.

It's easy to see his predicament, but what a way to try and change the manager's mind.

Loftus-Cheek scored the first Chelsea hat-trick in Europe in over a decade

However, while the majority of Stamford Bridge were waxing lyrical about Loftus-Cheek, it's Sarri's job to polish the final aspects of his game that arguably still need honing.

From the press box, ESPN's Liam Twomey spotted that Sarri "isn't super happy with him tactically" and was "giving him a fair bit of individual instruction from the sidelines".

Sarri and Loftus-Cheek on the sidelines 

He also pictured the pair together, suggesting Loftus-Cheek was being spoken to regularly throughout the game.

Has Loftus-Cheek done enough? 

In his post-match press conference, Sarri reflected:

"He [Loftus-Cheek] played very well. In the offensive phase, he was wonderful. I told him at the beginning of the season he was a very good player, I think he’s now more suitable to my football.

"He needs to improve in the defensive phase, but it’s not only him.

Maurizio Sarri has been given plenty of food for thought

"It’s very difficult to put him in the starting XI. I hope to be able to do it in the future.

"The fans love him. My problem remains the same. It’s very difficult to solve the tactical problem without the improvement in the defensive phase."

On the back of those comments, Chelsea fans may fear that Loftus-Cheek needs far more minutes if he is to develop to his full potential and that may require another loan spell.

Should Loftus-Cheek be starting for Chelsea? Have your say in the comments. 

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