Antonio Rudiger has been axed from the squad due to his comments against the Italians tactics
Chelsea’s season almost plunged into disaster when they went 2-0 behind against relegation-threatened Southampton. A second-half fightback saw Conte’s men secure an unlikely and for large parts of the game an undeserved victory. Despite this win, however, Chelsea is expected to miss out on a top 4 spot with both Tottenham and Liverpool comfortably ahead of them.
In this season of turmoil, Conte has alienated a lot of the members of this Chelsea squad. While the friction between him and the board can be put on the back burner for matchdays, his troubles with squad members affect the team directly. The Italian has already had spats with Diego Costa and David Luiz, and now another player has been added to that list.
Antonio Rudiger was dropped from Chelsea’s 18-man travelling contingent to face Southampton. The reason behind it seems to be the public criticism of Conte’s tactics by Rudiger. The German international spoke to Sky Sports after a 1-1 draw against West Ham, seemingly taking a swipe at his manager and teammates. He said:
“I think we begged. We begged for the goal. I think in the second half we (could) finish the game (off). But like the last few months, we didn’t and we (conceded).”
“For me, it’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more possession. Like the last weeks again, we (gave) them a gift.”
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) April 14, 2018
Chelsea conceded a late equaliser from Javier Hernandez as Blues added to their poor run of form in 2018. With only games 5 matches to go, Conte’s men are 10 points off Tottenham and Liverpool. However, they are in the last four of FA Cup. They will face Southampton next week hoping to book a ticket to the final.
If Rudiger has indeed been axed from the squad, then the news is not good for the club. Chelsea is already stretched thin and this decision by Conte will not go down well. This is the third player he has fallen out within a period of 10 months and it does not paint a good picture of the Italian.