Ruben Loftus-Cheek has moved to reassure Chelsea fans Maurizio Sarri was right to substitute him in the Europa League semi-final. Loftus-Cheek cut a frustrated figure when replaced late in the second half of Thursday’s dramatic second leg, which Chelsea eventually won 4-3 on penalties to set up an all-English final against Arsenal.
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Supporters rounded on boss Sarri, loudly booing his decision to remove goalscorer Loftus-Cheek, but the 23-year-old has confirmed he had cramp and had asked to come off. “The fans obviously didn’t like it but I tried to lift them, because we didn’t need that atmosphere here, but it’s all for a good reason,” said Loftus-Cheek.
“I’ve played a lot in these last few weeks, more than I’ve done in my career. “So I think I have to pay attention to my body and take care of myself, because I don’t want another injury. “When I feel that I’m a liability to the team, because I was getting cramp in my hamstrings just before I came off, and the minute I feel if I sprint it could go or I won’t be able to spring as fast as I can, then it’s just the right decision to put some fresh legs on.”