There have been two training sessions and plenty of words spoken since Thomas Tuchel’s decision to take off Callum Hudson-Odoi just half-an-hour after he made him a half-time substitution at Southampton, but the incident was discussed again in today’s media conference ahead of tomorrow’s match against Atletico Madrid, with both the manager and captain having their say on the young player’s reaction since Saturday.
Straight after the game, Tuchel explained he had not been happy with Hudson-Odoi’s energy level or counter-pressing as the Blues first tried to overcome a deficit against the Saints and then after equalising, find a winning goal that proved elusive. He subsequently suggested he is considering starting the 20-year-old in Tuesday night’s Champions League outing.
Today, while speaking to the press via video link from Cobham, shortly before making the journey to Romania for the match, Tuchel revealed Hudson-Odoi’s reaction to the weekend.
‘First of all we decided to speak to him in front of the whole group because I had my reasons for doing it,’ he said.
‘Was it the right decision, I don’t know, it was my decision in this moment. We spoke in front of the whole group to not make it bigger than it is because for us it was not a big thing.
‘Sometimes you reflect while you do it, should I do it because maybe the media and outside and the family and whatever makes it bigger than it actually is meant. Still I did it and we had the only reaction we wanted, which was that he went back to the normal mood, to a good mood and to a smile and good training the next day, and a very good training today and that is it.
‘I already said right after the game it was a decision for that day and this is the lesson to learn from that day for him and for me also, and we go on and then it is forgotten and that is absolutely the way. Here in Cobham between us two and between me and the team, it is business as usual and no big thing.’
Cesar Azpilicueta, asked about it as Hudson-Odoi’s captain and a very experienced campaigner, had this to say:
‘Obviously it is not nice to come on and be subbed after 25 or 30 minutes, that is very obvious and the manager made it clear, and what was important was to see his reaction afterwards.
‘There was a positive reaction and I am sure he will get better and be stronger. He is a young lad and when you face this kind of situation, the most important thing is the reaction and straightaway the next day in training, the manager said the incident was already talked through and that was it.
‘We have another challenge and Callum is a strong boy and I am sure he will get better. He is a very important player for us as we saw in the recent games, when he has played every game under the new manager.’