October 26, 2018 / 3:36 AM / 21 days ago

Difficult to accommodate Loftus-Cheek in first team - Sarri

Soccer Football - Europa League - Group Stage - Group L - Chelsea v BATE Borisov - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - October 25, 2018 Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek celebrates scoring their third goal to complete his hat-trick REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes he has a “tactical problem” as he struggles to slot Ruben Loftus-Cheek in his first-choice lineup despite the midfielder’s hat-trick in the Europa League win over BATE Borisov.

Making the most of a rare start for Sarri’s side, Loftus-Cheek inspired Chelsea to a 3-1 Europa League win over the Belarus champions at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

But Sarri said only defensive improvements could lead to more chances for Loftus-Cheek, who remains below N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley in the pecking order.

“We have four midfielders and three of them have the same characteristics,” Sarri told BT Sport.

“They are offensive midfielders, only one has other characteristics - Kante is a defensive midfielder. So it is very difficult to put in the starting XI two midfielders with the same characteristics.

“We have a tactical problem with the midfielders.”

Chelsea, who currently two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, visit 13th-placed Burnley on Sunday.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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