Tuchel moving on as more details emerge of Rudiger, Kepa scuffle

Date published: Monday 5th April 2021 11:03 - James Marshment

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is looking to draw a line under the training ground bust-up that saw Antonio Rudiger sent in early following a heated exchange with teammate Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tempers flared at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground during Sunday’s training session. Spanish goalkeeper Kepa reacted to Rudiger’s late challenge during a small-sided training game and the two players shoved each other as tempers flared. According to The Athletic, the substitute goalkeeper gave the German centre-back a few choice words while the game was going on. Rudiger then started ‘pushing and shoving’ the Spaniard.

The Athletic cites an unnamed source who claimed: “Rudiger showed Kepa who’s boss.” 

Tuchel intervened quickly and Germany defender Rudiger was sent back to the changing rooms to cool down.

Arrizabalaga then followed him and the two apologised before hugging it out. Tuchel now considers the matter closed.

The incident happened after Saturday’s shock 5-2 home defeat to West Brom, in which both players were among the substitutes.

It has been reported earlier this season that Rudiger had clashed on more than one occasion with Cesar Azpilicueta during training.

Rudiger lost his place in the starting line-up during the closing stages of Frank Lampard’s tenure as Chelsea boss, but has regained his place and played a key role under Tuchel.

The incident followed a heated argument between Reece James and Azpilicueta in the Stamford Bridge dressing room on Saturday.

The Spaniard apparently felt James was to blame for West Brom’s second goal. Azpilicueta felt James should have done more to prevent goalscorer Mathaus Pereira slotting into the bottom corner.

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Tuchel keen to move on from row

The Blues will bid to bounce back from their first defeat in 15 games under Tuchel on Wednesday. They play Porto in the away leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Indeed, Tuchel is looking for an instant reaction from his players.

“Individually, our defending was not at the level we have become used to from the guys. We need to improve in that sense,” he said.

“It was one of those games where there was a lot of drama in the sense that if things could go wrong, they did go wrong. We got a red card, conceded two goals just before half-time. Then we got an injury at half-time to Christian [Pulisic].

“In the second half, pretty much every shot they had was a goal.

“We had a few chances for ourselves but pretty quickly we had the feeling that this was not going to be the day where we could turn the score around.”

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