Soccer

Thomas Tuchel compares Chelsea’s forgotten man to Michael Ballack

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has compared Ruben Loftus-Cheek to former Blues midfielder Michael Ballack.

Loftus-Cheek has been on loan at Fulham and he has not played for Chelsea since their first Premier League game of the season back in September.

The 25-year-old has struggled with injury problems throughout his career and Tuchel was asked about the midfielder's future at the club ahead of Chelsea's game against Fulham on Saturday.

"It is not decided yet," Tuchel replied. "I was quite a fan of him when he was younger, when he came from the academy into professional football here at Chelsea.

"It reminded us a bit of his style of play and movements with Michael Ballack. There were some links about him all the time with maybe a move to the German league so we were well aware of him and his talent.

"Sometimes I don't know why things have not worked out as he wished and everyone wished but he is on loan now and doing well. He is leaving his footprints there and it would be unfair to judge him from TV, hearsay and what people say about him.

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"I like to work with players and give my opinion then. Maybe also pretty quick but also from a direct impression. This is what I don't have. I don't know what the idea is, my opinion is or the club's opinion is. There's no decision made yet."

Tuchel also gave his thoughts on the game against Fulham, adding: "Fulham is a good chance to keep our advantage in the league, nothing else. This is the moment where we need to prove to ourselves that we can fully focus on one match.

"I know very well it's a match between two semi-finals, and this is not a usual week. I'm very happy it's not a usual week because it's big to play in the semi-final of the Champions League.

"But still, it's the moment to prove to ourselves that we are capable of focusing, that we are capable of putting all the energy into tomorrow's game.

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