Rudiger: It’s crazy what I do!

Toni Rudiger was the man in the right place at the right time on Saturday at Stamford Bridge when he won two penalties, helping to save crucial points from being lost.

The German was tthe victim of a sliding challenge from Leeds’ Raphinha and then a foul from Mateusz Klich with both spot-kicks converted by Jorginho, the second a 94th-minute winner. Earlier in the season he was responsible for Chelsea being given a penalty a 4-0 win over Malmo and another for handball in the thrashing of Norwich.

As he reflected on his impact this season and also recalled a shooting chance he had right at the end of the 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the previous home game, Rudiger had this to say:

‘It is crazy I get myself in positions like this in the last minutes against United and I was there now against Leeds.

‘For me it's important just to try to help the team and show who I am. I just thought okay, let’s go forward as there is nothing to lose.

‘It always feels like a 50-50 game against a team like Leeds. It's never easy because of their high intensity. We try to match it. I really respect their way of playing. They run a lot, they play everywhere on the field man-to-man so it's not easy because they're matching your own game, so to get three points against them is very important after the loss at West Ham.’

However despite salvaging the win, there were still crucial aspects of the performance that concern the 28-year-old, not least the recently lost art of keeping clean sheets that has been so revered since Thomas Tuchel took charge.

‘In terms of mentality, we matched their [Leeds’] game, in terms of quality, no because the goals we conceded were too easy,’ noted Rudiger.

‘These days we concede a lot of goals which are too easy and we have to address this. If you want to compete for trophies you should not do that type of mistake. We know we need to improve things as quickly as possible.

‘We do silly mistakes, we punish ourselves and give away goals. It's not that the opponents are killing us or outplaying us.

‘Obviously we are missing players, this is clear, but I don’t look for excuses. We have a good squad and this is the chance for people now and everyone has to take their chance.’

With echoes of Ron Harris and Eddie Gray, Peter Osgood and Jack Charlton, Eddie McCreadie and Billy Bremner when Chelsea and Leeds used to meet, there was a squaring-up of a large number of players when the final whistle blew on Saturday, with Rudiger prominent in the melee.

‘It was just emotion, there was nothing bad after that,’ our defender explained. ‘At the whistle sometimes things get heated a bit but when you go inside you shake hands and everything's good.’

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