In normal circumstances there would be 90,000 supporters at Wembley tomorrow, a sea of blue and red, leaving Ruben Loftus-Cheek to contemplate how the empty bowl could affect our FA Cup semi-final.
Yesterday the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said fans could be able to return to stadiums in England from October ‘subject to the successful outcome of pilots’, with Frank Lampard giving his reaction to that news in his pre-match press conference.
But for now matches will continue to take place behind closed doors, meaning there will be almost 100,000 empty seats in north-west London tomorrow. It is sure to be a surreal occasion, but Loftus-Cheek insists we must adapt to the unusual circumstances.
‘I’d love for there to be fans at Wembley,’ said Loftus-Cheek.
‘It’s going to be even more eerie because it’s such a big stadium. This far into a competition, this is the business end and this is when you want the fans to be involved, and to feel the energy and adrenaline in the stadium.
‘The situation is very different right now, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We have to try to play the same football and have the same motivation to want to win a game.’
Loftus-Cheek has never won the FA Cup, having been on loan at Crystal Palace when we last tasted success in the competition, in 2018. Having joined Chelsea at the age of seven, he would love to add a new winner’s medal to his collection.
‘When I was at Palace I saw myself as a Palace player, part of that team, so I wasn’t jealous of what the Chelsea team achieved that year. But now I’m back at Chelsea, I’m a Chelsea player and I want to win titles with Chelsea. There’s no added motivation because the team won the FA Cup when I was away. Not at all.’