Antonio Rudiger will leave Chelsea this summer, according to Thomas Tuchel, and he has hinted at what role he will play in his last months with the club.
Chelsea survived an error-plagued performance and a dreadful missed penalty to snare all three points against West Ham in the closing seconds.
Throughout the first half, the Blues struggled, with slips, wayward passes, and a general lack of focus clouding their play.
After the break, there was a noticeable improvement, albeit getting past Craig Dawson, in particular, was proving tough.
However, the center-back ruined an otherwise excellent performance by dragging Romelu Lukaku to the ground late in the game. Dawson was given the red card, but Jorginho fluffed his lines from the spot.
Christian Pulisic tucked home Marcos Alonso’s cut-back in the 90th minute, but the late drama didn’t stop there.
Tuchel told Sky Sports after the game, “It felt a little stuck, but we knew it.”
“Against West Ham, who defend with a lot of bodies and discipline, it might seem like this.” We must wait until the right time.
“We had some accelerations from midfield with Mason [Mount], but nobody was joining.” It felt suffocated. We had authority over it, but we couldn’t identify any open places. After our recent results, it was also not the time to take any risks. We wanted to be able to manage their counter-attacks. The red card may have created more room for the late response.”
Tuchel’s reaction to Jorginho’s miss from the spot revealed that he still believes in the midfielder’s unorthodox approach.
“It works regularly for us 100 percent of the time,” the German added.
“Changing was never required.” It is possible. Hopefully, it is a one-of-a-kind occurrence. He is unhappy, but pleased that we were able to turn things around.”
Speculation had began to circulate that this might be Antonio Rudiger’s last season at Stamford Bridge.
The center-half is set to become a free agent this summer, and sources say he has informed the club that he intends to go. If speculations are to be accepted, Real Madrid has emerged as his most likely destination.
When such allegations were made known to Tuchel, the Blues manager said, “Toni, the media is on it.” The current problem is that he wants to quit the club. In a private conversation, he told me of this.
“We offered everything – me and the club – but we couldn’t fight any longer due to the acts.” Without the sanctions, we would be able to continue fighting, but our options are limited. We don’t take anything personally. It is his choice.”
Despite his upcoming exit, Tuchel believes Rudiger will remain an important member of Chelsea’s squad after he recovers from a groin injury.
“He is an important character and will remain so until the conclusion of the season,” Tuchel stated. “However, it is frustrating. We shall miss him much.
“He inspires bravery in the locker room.” The sort that everyone fears, but the kind that can play 50-55 games at a high level. He has been a standout defender for me over the past year and a half. Then we’ll have to come up with another solution.”
Matchwinner Pulisic also addressed the media, telling Sky Sports: “He [Thomas Tuchel] basically told to make a difference, to combine and create chances.”
“It feels fantastic to know that I’m in the top four.” We need to win at home, and it feels amazing to do it in front of our supporters.
“We need to conclude the season on a high note.” There will be some excellent league games followed by a final. I needed to come in and make an impact, as well as demonstrate that I want to play.”