Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who made his first Premier League start in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool.
The 19-year-old was making only his second league appearance for Chelsea, and played for an hour before being replaced by Nemanja Matic.
Mourinho was satisfied with the midfielder’s showing, and revealed he had always planned to withdraw Loftus-Cheek in the second half.
“I think he did well but I think it’s better for him to pay 60 minutes and leave in good condition than stay until the end,” Mourinho said.
“It was better for him to leave but it was a fantastic experience for him to feel the intensity and the speed, the way he has to think and has to compete.
“It was a fantastic experience for him and I’m happy. He’s going to be a Chelsea player, that’s no doubt, and we have other kids I believe can do it.
“The intensity of the game is different to what he’s used to and in the second half he was more chasing and in a position where I need him tactically to read the game a bit better so I preferred to give him a good hour than an extra 20 or 25 difficult minutes.
“In the last game [of the season against Sunderland] I’m going to play the players who have more minutes, the base of the team who play more times.
“But against West Brom [next time out], because West Brom is safe and nobody is waiting for a result, I’m going to play Ruben and probably Nathan Ake and also Izzy Brown who came from West Brom so I think that will be special for him.”
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