Centre-back Antonio Rudiger has denied claims that he played a key role in Chelsea’s decision to sack Frank Lampard last week. After a run of five defeats in eight Premier League outings, including a 3-1 home reverse to Manchester City, Chelsea made the decision to relieve Lampard of his duties, despite leading the club to a top-four finish last season. In the aftermath of Lampard’s exit, which quickly saw him replaced by Thomas Tuchel, rumours quickly surfaced about Rudiger having contributed to Lampard’s dismissal, with some claiming that the defender had been causing trouble behind the scenes. That lead to Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Tammy Abraham both launching passionate defences of the Germany international on social media. Now, just over a week on from Lampard’s departure, Rudiger has denied claims that he went to the Blues’ hierarchy asking them to sack Lampard, with the former Roma man having struggled for opportunities to prove his worth this season.
Antonio Rudiger said: “There have been so many nonsense rumours about me since last week. I’ve never talked with the board about the situation of the coach or on any other topics. Frank Lampard trusted in my abilities after Christmas in a very difficult situation and I was thankful for this. It was also the main reason why I told my representatives not to look for a possible winter move anymore. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for our team to turn things around for the coach. We always wanted the best for the manager and for the club.”
Since Tuchel’s arrival in west London a week ago, Rudiger, who was targeted by the German during his time in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, has started both of his first two games in charge, suggesting he has a chance to get his career at Stamford Bridge back on track. Prior to Tuchel’s arrival, the 27-year-old had featured just four times in the Premier League so far this season. Although Tuchel’s arrival could prove to be vitally important in Rudiger’s chances of playing regularly again, the defender insists there is no bad blood between him and Lampard, as well as tipping him to secure a route back into management quickly.
Antonio Rudiger added: “He took over the manager position last season when things were very complicated for all of us. But we managed to qualify for the Champions League together with him. He has given so many young players a chance in the first team and they are still doing an amazing job. I’m pretty sure we will see Frank Lampard back again at another club very soon.”
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