Rudiger Dismissed From Easter Sunday Training By Coach Tuchel After A Bust-Up With Kepa Arrizabalaga
One defeat and a training ground fight is all it takes for the momentum to vanish and Chelsea suffered both over the weekend.
Hot on the heels of the capitulation against West Bromwich Albion, Thomas Tuchel ordered Antonio Rudiger to stop training early on Sunday after he had a fight with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
There was pushing and arguing between the pair, neither of whom played in the defeat by West Brom, when tempers flared in training and Tuchel sent his defender into the changing rooms shortly before the end of the session to calm down.
The row kicked off during a small-sided game when Rudiger went in late on Kepa, who reacted badly but was allowed to see out the session. Rudiger apologised to Kepa later on and Tuchel is satisfied that the incident is dealt with.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James are also said to have been involved in a heated discussion in the dressing room immediately after the game.
Tuchel admitted post-match that things got heated but that clearly carried over into Sunday's session.
‘After 14 matches unbeaten, we cannot lose our head,’ Tuchel said. ‘After the game, it was the moment to be honest but to be calm and to breathe. It is our first loss together. It is important to find a way to deal with it together.
'So there were some quick words to calm everybody down and to delay the talks because it was too emotional, too much frustration and that is not productive.’
Tuchel also admitted Chelsea had lost the initiative in the race for the top four, although Spurs helped by failing to beat Newcastle. But the Blues can fall to fifth tonight if West Ham win at Wolves.
‘We were aware when we started the day that we were in a position to lead the race, to put pressure on others,’ said Tuchel. ‘And so the opposite is now the case.’
Of greater concern after 14 games unbeaten under their new coach will be a fear that Sam Allardyce has delivered a blueprint of how to rattle Tuchel’s Chelsea.
With two up front, West Brom hustled Jorginho and the defenders into mistakes in a way some teams tried to upset the rhythm of Maurizio Sarri’s side when he was in charge.
Thiago Silva was sent off after collecting two yellows and both fouls were in reaction to possession lost in defensive areas. The second goal scored by Matheus Pereira, to put the visitors 2-1 up in first-half stoppage time came when James and Jorginho were caught playing out of tight space in defence.
Once ahead, Albion were quick and clinical on the counter-attack to leave Allardyce purring about how the quality of his team’s finishing will ‘shock’ their relegation rivals and wondering aloud about springing another great escape.
At Chelsea, the self-analysis was already under way. ‘We did not adapt to the situation at all,’ said Tuchel, who having tinkered with his team selection, then tinkered with his 10 men in search of the best formation.
‘I had the feeling we struggled completely. We wanted to start in a 4-3-2 to play with counter-attacks and two strikers. That worked out not so well because we conceded a lot of crosses, so we went for 4-4-1, a very classic style if you’re one man down.
‘Then we conceded two super easy goals. The first goal was far too easy. We didn’t catch the momentum to be one man down, to be closer, to make it hard to create chances and to wait for ball-wins and to counter-attack.
‘So we changed to a back three/five in the second half because it gives us more security, but the defending was simply not on a level we are used to. This was the day where everything went wrong that could go wrong.’
These problems included a hamstring injury for Christian Pulisic ahead of the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Porto on Wednesday, and the day ended with statements from both clubs condemning racist abuse on social media aimed at West Brom’s Callum Robinson, who scored twice in the second half at Stamford Bridge.
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Credit: Daily Mail