Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger found himself frozen out during his side’s 3-2 win at Southampton, and he sounds pretty sure as to why that was. The early summer transfer window addition was not only replaced in the starting XI by Andreas Christensen, but also not even named to the bench.
This, despite being fully fit. The German international believes the reason for his severe demotion stems from comments he made about his side’s tactics, and that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte interpreted them incorrectly.
Conte certainly has an authoritarian reputation, so perhaps the Italian did see the remarks as insubordinate. The only explanation the Blues boss gave was that he made a “tactical decision.”
Rudiger told Sky Sports last week that he didn’t “understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more ball possession” after Chelsea dropped points at home to West Ham United in a 1-1 draw. The defender has since told media outlet ZDF that he didn’t mean for his remarks to come off as a shot at Antonio Conte.
“Probably, but I didn’t mean it that way,” Rudiger responded when asked if he thinks it was those comments that got him benched.
“It was a fact, it wasn’t about the tactics. I did not attack anyone personally, I meant us as a team.”
Now that he’s apologized, it will be interesting to see how the rest of this episode now unfolds.
Chelsea next head to Burnley FC for Thursday night Premier League action, and then a rematch with Southampton in a FA Cup semifinal Sunday.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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