“Ruben Loftus-Cheek was excellent,” Thomas Tuchel told ITV Sport after the Crystal Palace win.
“He was very, very strong against Southampton and Madrid and would have deserved to start, but honestly we expected a back four and we wanted more of a classic wing-back position
“We also wanted Azpi on the field as our captain, but we knew Ruben could make an impact from the bench.
“We’re very happy with him at the moment. He is always like this in training but sometimes he has hidden his potential in matches.”
Loftus-Cheek’s season has been one of ups and downs, and today was definitely a positive experience. The midfielder came on the pitch to replace an injured Mateo Kovacic and scored a great goal to give Chelsea a lead.
It’s still unclear what role he would have for the remainder of the season – and the picture gets even murkier after that, as Chelsea might be ready to part ways with a player who earns more than some starting XI regulars like Mason Mount.