Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has challenged Ruben Loftus-Cheek to reach his full potential after the England midfielder impressed against Malmo.
Tuchel admitted he feared he had made a mistake in picking him.
“I was a bit worried in the first 15 minutes if Ruben can find another gear,” said the German.
“We can give the boys credit sometimes to be nervous and find their way into the match. I’m happy he fought his way through and it is symbolic for me that he didn’t disappear or stay invisible.
“After the first 15 minutes he was involved in a lot of dangerous moments. I’m happy he pushed himself through these little downs and came up with another strong performance.”
Loftus-Cheek has won 10 England caps, including four appearances at the 2018 World Cup. He came through the ranks at Chelsea, but has only started 17 Premier League games for them since his debut in the 2014-15 campaign.
He spent last season on loan at Fulham after also being with Crystal Palace for a spell during the 2017-18 campaign.
However, Loftus-Cheek has featured in nine Chelsea matches in 2021-22, with this his first Champions League start since the 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in September 2015 during Jose Mourinho’s second spell in charge.
“He wants to dominate opponents and is too talented to just be a part of the group,” added Tuchel, whose side won the Champions League last season and are second in Group H, needing one point to reach the last 16.
“He needs to use his full potential – that’s the absolute key – and if he does he can be a big part of the squad.
“I’m very happy with him. The next step is to show consistency and push himself – the limit can constantly be pushed – because he has so much potential.”