Thomas Tuchel has insisted that he remains on good terms with Antonio Rudiger following the defender’s decision to leave Chelsea in the summer and discussed how his compatriot informed him of his desire to depart.
The Blues boss revealed in the aftermath of Sunday’s victory against West Ham that Rudiger intended to move on from the club at which he has spent the past five years once his current contract expires in the summer.
Tuchel has now provided more information on how the 29-year-old broke the news to him at Cobham last week and expressed his gratitude that he was informed in person.
‘When Toni knocks at your door one hour before training, it’s not a good sign,’ he explained. ‘Normally he doesn’t knock - he just grabs you in between and tells you something, so everybody thought this is not looking good.
‘Then we had this brief conversation. First of all, I appreciated that he came and told me. I was one of the first and that shows me we have a relationship where we handle things directly and honestly and are not afraid to tell each other what we think.’
All options were exhausted in convincing the German to extend his stay in south-west London, with the sanctions placed on the club making things even more difficult in recent weeks, though Tuchel believes Rudiger’s passion for a new challenge meant his mind was already made up.
Now the focus turns to our final seven games of the season, starting with this evening’s trip to Manchester United, and ensuring our number two’s trophy-laden time at the club ends in style.
‘Toni is not the guy you need to take out to 10 dinners and 12 coffees to talk him into something,’ added Tuchel. ‘He has strong opinions, which is part of his personality. He demands clarity and honesty but it’s very low maintenance with him.
‘I was disappointed but not on a personal level. It’s his right to figure out what opportunities he had and it’s his right to change clubs. I did not like it and he knows that we did not like it but we had big players with injuries before for many weeks or months and life does not stop.
‘I would have liked him to stay. He would have been a key figure but still these things happen. We are on good terms and now he needs to finish on the same level.’