Ruben Loftus-Cheek hauled off during Chelsea friendly, 27 minutes after coming on - Jose Mourinho says relationship has 'taken a step back'

Mourinho said Loftus-Cheek's work-rate was 'unacceptable' after claiming he only seemed to be injured when Sydney FC had the ball

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho has delivered a scathing assessment of teenager Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s post-season form, hauling him after 27 minutes of a friendly in Sydney and telling the 19-year-old their relationship had been damaged.

Mourinho pulled no punches with Loftus-Cheek who has made four senior appearances this season and is regarded as the first of the latest round of great hopes from the Chelsea academy who will make the leap to first team squad regular next season. Chelsea won the game against Sydney FC, in front of a 83,898 crowd at the ANZ Stadium, with a goal from Loic Remy and Mourinho had initially selected Loftus-Cheek to start, only to replace him with  the French academy boy Jeremie Boga in the line-up shortly before kick-off.

Lotus-Cheek came on for Diego Costa five minutes before half-time but played just 27 minutes before he was replaced by Jordan Houghton, also 19, another academy boy. Mourinho said: “When Chelsea had the ball he [Loftus-Cheek] was playing very well, but when Sydney had the ball I think he was more impressed by watching Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel work, instead of him working.

"So, with Ruben, it's one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn't know what it is to play for me and Chelsea, it's one step back. He has to learn that at 19 you have to run three times more than the others, you have to play to your limits and not play like a superstar with the ball at your feet because this is not Under-18s."

 

He continued: "The Under-18s competition is too easy for him. He's too good to play in the Under-18s. But I don't accept that when he's playing in midfield with Mikel and Matic, when we don't have the ball he doesn't press, doesn't have intensity and he's waiting for everybody else to recover the ball. I don't accept that in the superstars so how can I accept that in a kid? He has to learn what it takes to play for us."

Costa has denied suggestions in Spain that he is unhappy at Chelsea and wants to return to Spain. The Spain international, from Brazil, said: “It’s always a bit more difficult in the first season for adaptation, but I have no reason to leave this place, I love it, the fans love me and I want to stay.”

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Mourinho reacts during the win over Sydney

Mourinho said: “He [Costa] is the guy responsible for everything good we have in the dressing room. He's so happy, so funny. He enjoys every minute and is the happiest guy in the dressing room. If this is unhappiness I'm happy with that. He was not happy with the news [that he might leave]."

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