Maurizio Sarri has played down the significance of Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s omission for Chelsea’s win over Arsenal.
Loftus-Cheek was not even among the Blues substitutes at Stamford Bridge, which will doubtless increase speculation that he could move abroad on loan this month.
Sarri said he opted to name only one midfielder on the bench, with that place going to recent signing Mateo Kovacic, who came on in the second half for his debut.
Loftus-Cheek has indicated since returning from a season-long loan at Crystal Palace that he is determined to play first-team football again this term.
However, asked if his absence was a sign he is not in Sarri’s plans, the Italian said: “No. I preferred to have on the bench two wingers and only one midfielder. There isn’t any other situation.
“I needed on the bench one goalkeeper, one full-back, one centre-back and maybe two midfielders and one winger, but I preferred to do it visa versa.”