Chelsea

Chelsea

Premier League • England

Tuchel reveals private Rudiger talk with Chelsea defender’s exit now confirmed

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed Antonio Rudiger will leave Chelsea this summer, and hinted at what role he’ll have in his final months with the Blues.

Chelsea overcame an error-strewn display and a dismal missed penalty to snatch all three points in the final moments against West Ham.

The Blues toiled throughout the first half, with slips, misplaced passes and a general lack of intent clouding their performance.

A marked improvement was forthcoming after the break, though finding a way past Craig Dawson in particular was proving difficult.

However, the centre-back blotted what was otherwise an outstanding display when hauling Romelu Lukaku to the ground late on. Dawson saw red, though Jorginho fluffed his lines from the spot.

Yet the late drama didn’t end there when Christian Pulisic tucked home Marcos Alonso’s cut-back in the 90th minute.

MATCH REPORT: Pulisic spares Jorginho blushes as Chelsea snatch last-gasp winner after West Ham see red

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Tuchel said: “It seemed a bit stuck, but we knew it.

“It can feel like this against West Ham who defend with a lot of bodies and discipline. We have to wait for the moments.

“We had some accelerations with Mason [Mount] from midfield but nobody was joining. It felt stuck. We controlled it but could not find spaces. It was also not the moment to take every risk after our recent results. We wanted to control their counter attacks. The red card maybe opened more space to allow the late answer.”

On Jorginho’s failure from the spot, Tuchel’s response suggested he still has faith in the midfielder’s unusual technique.

“It works for us normally to 100 percent,” added the German.

“It was never necessary to change. It can happen. Hopefully it is an unusual thing. He is disappointed but happy we could turn it around.”

Tuchel confirms Rudiger will leave Chelsea

Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea

Speculation had begun to swirl regarding this season being Antonio Rudiger’s last at Stamford Bridge.

The centre-half will become a free agent this summer and reports have suggested he has told the club he is intent on leaving. Real Madrid have since emerged as his likeliest destination if reports are to be believed.

When those claims were put to Tuchel, the Blues boss replied: “Toni, the media is on it. The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this is in a private talk.

“We gave everything – me and the club – but we could not fight anymore because of the actions. Without the sanctions we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It is his decision.”

Despite his impending departure, Tuchel suggested Rudiger will continue to play an integral role in Chelsea’s side when he returns from his groin injury.

“He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season,” added Tuchel. “But it is disappointing. We will miss him a lot.

“He gives courage in the dressing room. The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level. He is a top defender in the last one and a half years for me. We then need to find another solution.”

Matchwinner Pulisic also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “He [Thomas Tuchel] just said to make a difference, to combine and make opportunities.

“It feels good to be more secure in the top four. We need a win at home and it feels great in front of our fans.

“We need to finish the season strong. Some good league games and then a final. I needed to come in and make a difference and show I want to be playing.”