Chelsea teenager Ruben Loftus-Cheek has accepted the public criticism he received from manager Jose Mourinho earlier this month, acknowledging he must improve to gain a first-team place at the club.
Loftus-Cheek, 19, is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects at Stamford Bridge and was handed maiden appearances in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League last term.
However, his performance in a post-season friendly against Sydney prompted an angry reaction from Mourinho, who questioned the midfielder’s effort.
“Ruben said he had a pain in his back, but what I was feeling was that he only had the pain when Sydney had the ball,” said Mourinho at the time.
“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.”
Three weeks on, Loftus-Cheek says he has taken Mourinho’s comments on board.
“I listened to what the manager said and I wasn’t at the level,” Loftus-Cheek, who is currently on international duty with England Under-21s, told reporters.
“I need to do better. I need to do better if I want to play for Chelsea. For me that is a reminder that I have to work hard to get in the team. I just need to do my best.
“I will listen to him and learn from him every way I can. I really want to work hard now.”
Loftus-Cheek hopes to gain regular action in Chelsea’s first team in the 2015-16 campaign.
“Hopefully I just need to have a good pre-season,” he added.
“Chelsea is always hard to break into but I believe in myself and if I work hard then hopefully things will go well.”
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