Having been part of the rearguard that did not concede a goal in the first three games under Thomas Tuchel, and the side that beat one of the other ‘big-six’ teams for the first time this season on Thursday, Toni Rudiger describes the new coach’s attention to detail.
The defender also addresses racist abuse he has suffered on social media in the wake of the replacement of Frank Lampard by the new man in charge.
Rudiger had regained his place in the side for the last couple of league games under Lampard and has remained part of a reshaped back-three under his compatriot Tuchel, and he believes the players are picking up the new boss’s thinking quickly.
‘When we analysed the games against Wolverhampton and Burnley, I think we adapted very good to it [the plan],’ he said.
‘Of course there will be some moments like against Tottenham in the second half when we came out and we were a bit slower, but what was good was that we showed mentality, we showed that we can suffer together and move forward. The most important thing is the result, that is what we need at the moment, and we got it.
‘For me it is more important to look at the things that went wrong and to make them better,’ continues the German, ‘because the good things you don’t need to speak about but you need to address things that have to be better, and the coach is doing well on that.
‘He is very detailed and that is good because that makes you always have to perform on your best and that makes you also better, and me I like this way.’
There were media stories after the departure of Lampard naming Rudiger as someone who had caused difficulties. This led to shows of support from his team-mates but also and totally unacceptably, among those commenting from outside of the club on social media, there were some who resorted to racist abuse. Chelsea is supporting Rudiger on this matter and is investigating it, and will pass any relevant information to the police for investigation, as was the case with abuse aimed at Reece James.
‘I have been in the club into my fourth season and I have had four different coaches, with Tuchel now, and it was never talked about when Sarri left the club or when Conte left the club that players were involved or something like this,’ Rudiger points out.
‘My conscience is clear. I know who I am and I know I did not do all that nonsense that came out and for me in my head, I am very free. I am open for every new coach, as I was open also for Mr Lampard.
‘I cannot control people’s emotions but people should be human beings. Me, I didn’t post anything but the racial abuse was immense. This makes me stronger because I know who I am, I can look in the mirror and I can smile. I know I didn’t do anything so for me this is forgotten.
‘For me in life it is very important I can look in the mirror, I see myself, I know who I am. Of course it hurts but in this case I just block it out because I know I didn’t do anything.’
Rudiger considers whether social media companies must do more to prevent what he and others have experienced via their platforms.
‘To be very honest I don’t know about all these social media things but I think the more people who make accounts, they make money off it. So me personally, I think they don’t really care because as you know, this money has power so the rest doesn’t matter, so it is hard to tell if people will make a change on that.
‘I feel sorry for that but I feel more sorry for people who are not strong enough so it really affects them. Of course it affects me in a way too but it is just in a way that makes me think that people are not normal, people I am sorry to say are just stupid.’
After Reece James was abused, Chelsea Football Club issued a statement calling for a social media environment where hateful and discriminatory actions are as unacceptable online as they would be on the street.
As was discussed by Callum Hudson-Odoi yesterday, our owner Roman Abramovich wrote to the players expressing how appalled he is by such incidents and informing them there will be an increase in effort and funding to counter it.