Chelsea's Loftus-Cheek backs Sarri, Jorginho amid fan criticism
LONDON -- Ruben Loftus-Cheek has told ESPN FC that it is only a matter of time before Chelsea master "Sarriball" and insisted that Jorginho is a better player than many supporters give him credit for.
Maurizio Sarri has encountered hostility from a significant number of Chelsea fans this season, but his team has secured a top-four finish in the Premier League and could yet add Europa League glory to a Carabao Cup final appearance in February after beating Eintracht Frankfurt in a dramatic penalty shootout.
Loftus-Cheek netted his 10th goal of the season to open the scoring in Thursday's game and believes Chelsea are already showing flashes of the fast, possession-based style of football that Sarri is attempting to implement at Stamford Bridge.
"I think you can definitely see at times that we play some really top, top football," he said. "The football is flowing and we create chances really easily when we're playing well. That's down to the manager and what he's tried to drill into us through the season.
"It's always difficult when a new manager comes in and you play a different formation with different tactics, but we've worked hard on it all season and at times you can see it coming out. It's only a matter of time before we really nail it and then we can play well game after game after game."
As the symbol of "Sarriball" on the pitch, Jorginho has often borne the brunt of supporter frustrations under Sarri, and has endured boos from the home fans at Stamford Bridge on several occasions this season and frequent groans from the stands whenever he misplaces a pass.
Jorginho has challenged himself to win over his doubters within the Chelsea fanbase, and Loftus-Cheek is impressed with how the Italy international has conducted himself on and off the pitch since arriving from Napoli for a fee of around £50m last summer.
"I've not had the experience of going to a different league and playing, but I imagine it's really hard," Loftus-Cheek added. "Learning a new language... it's probably an uncomfortable feeling, but credit to him.
"Most fans don't see how good Jorjo is because he's not eye-catching. He does the simple thing but it's so effective. For us as a team, he helps bring play together and everything goes through him. When we play well, Jorjo plays well. He's a massive player for our team.
"As an advanced midfielder, if he's getting on the ball a lot it gives me the opportunity to get the ball, and it gives me space because he sucks players in. He's massive for us, but also defensively he cleans up and he's very tactically aware. He's someone I've looked at to improve."
Before they focus fully on their Europa League final showdown with Arsenal on May 29, Chelsea will head to the United States to face MLS club New England Revolution on May 15 in a friendly match arranged to raise awareness and funds for the fight against anti-semitism around the world.
Loftus-Cheek is likely to feature in the match dubbed "Final Whistle on Hate" at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and the midfielder is looking at the experience as an opportunity to make a difference beyond football.
"I've seen the stadium we're going to play in and it's really beautiful," he said. "As a big football club that has a big impact on society, it's important we do our part in raising awareness for these things. It's good to be a part of that and to have that impact."