Ruben Loftus-Cheek has urged Chelsea to play like Barcelona when lining up against defensive sides who sit deep in the Premier League.
Once again, the Blues came away with a disappointing stalemate against Southampton as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side frustrated Maurizio Sarri’s men at Stamford Bridge last Wednesday. The candidates for relegation limited Chelsea to few genuine goalscoring opportunities with a stubborn defence that also had Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn impress in his debut for the club.
The result left fourth-placed Chelsea only three points above Arsenal in fifth and comes after the tight 1-2 away win over Crystal Palace in which N’Golo Kante came up with his third league goal of the season to bail out the west Londoners, who had struggled to find a way through their city rivals.
Loftus-Cheek urges teammates to copy Barca-style
Loftus-Cheek, who came on in the 37th minute after Willian had suffered a hamstring problem, reckons that Chelsea should practise learning how to play like La Liga giants Barcelona in the training ground in order to break down sides who opt to implement a rigid defensive approach at Stamford Bridge.
“Teams are coming here and sitting back and it’s difficult to break them down, because it’s so tight,” said the midfielder. “We need to get on the training pitch and work on trying to get balls in behind and work on playing against a deep back four.
“We need those clever movements in behind, even though they are deep. One of those diagonal balls over the top, like you see Barcelona do a lot. “We need to work on that. It’s about having patience as well, because it’s so frustrating at times. You can’t get that space to open them up.
“I think we need to get used to it, because we’re playing well at times, so teams are going to come here and do that – and away as well.”