Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has backed midfielder Ramires to have a big impact on the side over the rest of the season.
Ramires featured in the FA Cup win against Watford after a spell out of the side with a thigh injury and his boss has revealed he feels Chelsea need the Brazilian as the fixtures come thick and fast over the next couple of months.
“I am pleased that Ramires is back. He needs to play without pain, which he did for the first time for a long, long time against Watford,” Mourinho told the Standard.
“Now it's a question of having his qualities again and getting back to his normal level.”
“To not feel pain in months and months, especially in a crucial area for a player to feel good, is significant. We need Ramires.”
Ramires faces two big challenges after his injury as he’ll be looking to capitalise on the performance against Watford.
The first is ensuring that he stays fit.
It’s always a bit nervous for sides who have key players returning from injury, because initially they’re in their most vulnerable state.
However, Chelsea’s schedule should provide Ramires with plenty of opportunities to improve his match sharpness and fitness, growing stronger as he plays more.
The second big challenge for him is how he forces his way into the side for the Premier League and Champions League this season.
Chelsea have a very settled system which is based around Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar, which makes it difficult for Ramires to break into the team.
He has to somehow prove to Mourinho that he’s a better option than either of those players, which will be difficult considering the side’s domestic and European position.
However, his boss certainly thinks he’s capable of doing it.