Ruben Loftus-Cheek has expressed his pride over the way Chelsea stuck together during a supposedly difficult period for the club.
Despite the tumult that rocked the west London club in recent weeks, the Blues have seemingly stabilised with a string of morale-boosting victories of late. Their 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie brings Chelsea’s positive run to three consecutive matches in all competitions, a massive response to their humiliating defeats that saw the Stamford Bridge faithful turn against their own players, not to mention their head coach Maurizio Sarri.
Loftus-Cheek, who came on against the Ukrainians to provide the assist for Callum Hudson-Odoi’s 90th-minute strike, spoke of the importance of taking a healthy advantage into the second leg away at the Ukrainian capital. He added the Blues are going to go all the way in the competition, and as they push for a top four finish in the league as well, he hopes their concentration levels would be primed for such a run.
“We said that before the game how, as we were playing at home first, we wanted to get some advantage for when we go away because these away games are tough. We came out to start strong and could have had a lot more goals in the first half,” said the England international.
Chelsea had the roughest of starts at the turn of the year when an alarming dip in performances coincided with a downturn in results. The west Londoners failed to register an away goal for over a month during such time while their defensive woes deepened as well, Man City and Bournemouth making the Blues suffer humiliating defeats in the league, while a tame FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester United culminated in the circulation of rumours regarding Maurizio Sarri’s position at the club.
Yet the west Londoners responded in the most concrete of fashions, engineering hard-fought victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the Premier League together with their latest win against Dynamo. The steely determination and drive with which the west Londoners replied gave the impression Sarri still has full command of the Chelsea dressing room and Loftus-Cheek agrees while also hoping their return to winning ways would prove as a catalyst for a sustained push towards their intended targets.
“Yes, we have had some ups and downs, but one thing we have done is stuck together. After the big loss against Bournemouth and Manchester City, things could have fallen apart. But we kept it together in the changing room, stayed tight, stayed as a group, stayed as one,” added Loftus-Cheek.
“We lost together and won together. We have come through it now. We are feeling strong as a group and have bounced back from those times. We are doing well at the minute and want to keep that momentum going.”