Thomas Tuchel believes nobody likes Antonio Rudiger’s choice to leave Chelsea this summer, but says he and the rest of his squad will respect the Germany international’s decision to leave.
The centre-back’s contract expires at the close of the campaign and, amid complications presented over the club’s impending change of ownership, he has announced he will depart.
The news is something of a blow to the Blues, who could see several key faces leave during the offseason – and now the manager has commented on what the call has left him feeling.
What has Tuchel said on Rudiger’s situation?
“I don’t think anybody likes it,” Tuchel stated ahead of his side’s clash with Manchester United. “Toni has [been] a huge factor in our last one-and-a-half seasons together. He gives everybody confidence in the dressing room, he is a unique character.
“He’s an aggressive leader, he plays on an outstanding level, and he gives you confidence if you play next to him, if you play around him. Sometimes, he takes the focus away from others, onto him; he takes responsibility, he loves responsibility.
“So I don’t think anybody likes this decision. But at the moment, we have to accept it and we will accept it. Like it or not, there will be life at Chelsea after Toni, and now the most important thing is that it ends like it started, on the highest level possible.”
Tuchel asks for Loftus-Cheek and James improvement
Elsewhere, Tuchel highlighted what England duo Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Reece James need to do in order to prove themselves further.
“[Loftus-Cheek] needs to push himself to the limit,” the German said. “In general he is a shy and calm person but he needs to discover the monster in him and unleash this on a regular basis. It is necessary.
“I would love to have two of Reece James. It is 50 per cent at wing-back and 50 per cent in the back three. I’m a bit more leaning that his very best position is the wing-back position but it is more demanding. The next step is to be a regular player for 55 or 60 fixtures.”
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