Maurizio Sarri: 'Ruben Loftus-Cheek not leaving Chelsea'

Eden Hazard

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Maurizio Sarri has said that Ruben Loftus-Cheek has the potential to become a "great" player, but has highlighted the points where he still has to improve.

"Hazard is the best player in the Premier League and I can see him staying at Chelsea for the long term, if he is offered the right contract", he told Bwin.

Crystal Palace, who Chelsea face on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, were hoping to lure the midfielder back to Selhurst Park where he spent the whole of last season. The summer signings of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic forced Loftus-Cheek further down the pecking order in an over-subscribed Chelsea midfield.

The former Everton midfielder admitted his frustration at watching from afar while Loftus-Cheek and company became national heroes in Russian Federation.

Loftus-Cheek is yet to start a Premier League match this season, although he recently hit a hat-trick against BATE Borisov in the Europa League.

There is no secret that Palace would be keen to bring him back in January if a deal can be struck. "At the moment the situation is not for a loan of course", Sarri said in his pre-match press conference.

The Rams scored a couple of own goals and we needed a Cesc Fabregas victor in the first half to ensure passage into the next round.

And finally, Chelsea coach Gianfranco Zola criticised the defending of Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen following their nervy Carabao Cup win over Derby. Now 37, the former England captain retired last month. "I'm not saying he can't move to a top six club".

But under Sarri, Kovacic has already made 12 appearances this season.

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