Loftus-Cheek believes Chelsea must win remaining games to claim top four spot
The midfielder has called on his team-mates to finish the season with a flourish.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek believes Chelsea need to win all of their six remaining matches to secure a top-four Premier League finish.
Midfielder Loftus-Cheek clipped into the top corner from 18 yards for a fine finish as Chelsea routed Brighton 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The 23-year-old then called on the Blues to produce their best winning streak of the campaign to seal that all-important top-four berth for Champions League qualification.
Loftus-Cheek knows the size of the task with trips to Liverpool and Manchester United yet to come but insisted Maurizio Sarri’s men are a force to be reckoned with when playing at high tempo.
Asked what it will take to seal a top-four place, Loftus-Cheek replied: “We need to win all of them, it is that tight.
“Every game and every three points matters. That’s why the win at Cardiff was massive, to keep us in the running for the top four.
“We need to win these games at home, definitely, and when we go away, they are massive games to win. It’s so tight that we need all of them.”
Good to get my first premier league start with a 3-0 win, an assist and a great team performance!!🔥👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/QsSjvidnVA— Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) April 3, 2019
Chelsea host West Ham on Monday night, with Burnley and Watford still to visit Stamford Bridge.
The Blues face hugely testing trips to title-chasing Liverpool and top-four rivals United and will take on Leicester at the King Power Stadium in their final league encounter this term.
Loftus-Cheek remains confident Chelsea have what it takes to produce a string of league victories, insisting the Blues are at their best when playing at speed.
“I think we’ve just got to do what we’re doing at home,” Loftus-Cheek told Chelsea TV.
“We played really well and controlled the game (against Brighton) throughout.
“If we play fast like we can, then I don’t think teams can live with us.
“And we’ve got to take that confidence on the road with us to play like this, and I’m sure we’ll do well.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrated his first Premier League start by teeing up Olivier Giroud’s opener in a composed performance from the teenaged England star.
Fellow academy graduate Loftus-Cheek swept home the goal of the night with an accurate finish, but not before Eden Hazard turned Lewis Dunk inside out and dispatched a fine strike of his own.
Loftus-Cheek revealed he and Hazard had joked about who produced the finer finish, before revealing how head coach Sarri tweaked Chelsea’s tactics at half-time.
Cos you learnt from the best my friend 😉 https://t.co/N8pjvn2VGc— Eden Hazard (@hazardeden10) April 3, 2019
“I said mine was better, but he said he got a chop in before, so I think we’re even,” said Loftus-Cheek.
“It was good to get the winning goal against Cardiff then get an opportunity tonight to help the team win. So it’s been a good couple of games.
“In the first half Brighton sat deep, and it was frustrating for me and N’Golo (Kante) just to try to get a touch on the ball because they were so tight and compact.
“So we ended up not making effective play or being in effective position.
“So at half-time, the manager said ‘just stay high, and let David (Luiz) come with the ball in the space, and stay in between the lines’.
“Those goals came from fast play, one touch round the corners, to open them up, and they can’t deal with fast play that opens up opportunities to either thread a through ball or get a shot off.”
Brighton boss Chris Hughton hopes Solly March can shake off a calf issue in time for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, revealing he is still weighing up his starting XI.
He said: “At this moment I haven’t picked my team; it will have to be a team that I think can do the club justice and produce the best opportunity we have of getting something.”