Chelsea's Loftus-Cheek shows future is bright again
Chelsea 2 - Scunthorpe 0
The previous weekend Guus Hiddink rediscovered Chelsea's attacking verve. Yesterday, he rediscovered their youth policy. The veteran manager, trying to rebuild from the debris of the second Jose Mourinho era, guided Chelsea into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a routine win over Scunthorpe United.
The first goal was scored by Diego Costa, looking as sharp now as he did last season. But the second, more significantly, was the first senior career goal for Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The 19-year-old midfielder was meant to be one of Mourinho's projects this season but was swiftly discarded when results went wrong.
Yesterday, he was given 45 minutes, his longest spell in almost three months. He justified his introduction with the goal that sealed victory.
"We are determined to go on and get silverware at the end of the season," said Hiddink, who won the FA Cup in 2009 with Chelsea and would love to do the same again, albeit with a very different squad.
"We brought on youngsters in the second half, and that is good for them. Ruben came in and scored a beautiful goal, not just in its execution. That was good to see."
Kenedy and Bertrand Traoré also came on later in the second half and, for the first time in months, the path into the first team for these young players became clear again.
"If you have this academy, with investment in young players, you must give them some credit to develop," Hiddink explained.
The closest the visitors came to a way back into the game was a very plausible penalty appeal just before the second goal.
Kevin van Veen drove forward with the ball and, just inside the box, collided with Ramires.
Van Veen went down, and while there was contact, referee Craig Pawson decided it was not a foul. Scunthorpe were furious and even after the final whistle, substituted captain Stephen Dawson was still in his ear.
Mark Robins, the Scunthorpe manager, was just as forthright in his post-match press conference. "It was nailed on," he said. "We are disappointed with that. You need the rub of the green - and we didn't get it."