‘If I was so anti-Lampard, why would I have been on the pitch under him?’: Antonio Rudiger hits back at claims he had an issue under former boss as he reveals he turned down the chance to leave Chelsea for PSG last summer
- Frank Lampard was sacked as Chelsea boss and replaced by Thomas Tuchel
- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger was out of the first team earlier this season
- Rudiger was accused of playing a role in Lampard’s sacking, which he denied
- The German has insisted he had no issue and wouldn’t have played if he had one
Antonio Rudiger has shut down talk he had an issue with Frank Lampard and said he wouldn’t have continued playing for Chelsea if he did not respect his former Blues boss.
Lampard was sacked on January 25 following a dismal run which left Chelsea’s hopes of a top four finish.
Former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel arrived as his successor and he has overseen a dramatic upturn in form, going unbeaten since he took charge to lift Chelsea up to fourth.
Antonio Rudiger (left) has categorically denied he had an issue with Frank Lampard (right)
He was restored to the Chelsea side in Lampard’s final games and has continued to feature
Rudiger was accused of being one of the players culpable for the sacking of Lampard, something he has denied.
He had played regularly throughout his previous three seasons at Chelsea but found himself out of the first-team picture under Lampard earlier this campaign before being restored to the side games before Lampard was axed.
‘If I was so anti-Lampard, why would I have been on the pitch under him in his last games?’ Rudiger told SportBILD.
Rudiger explained he had offers to leave but wanted to stay and fight for his place in the team
He added: ‘It doesn’t make sense. Frank Lampard is very well respected in the club and by the fans.
‘The perception that I was against the coach has more to do with the time around the start of the season when I wasn’t in the squad.’
Rudiger managed just 35 appearances in the 84 games Lampard had in charge but was brought in ahead of Kurt Zouma in the final games as the former Chelsea midfielder fought for his job.
The German explained that PSG were keen to add him in the summer and while negotiations went ‘back-and-forth’ it was ultimately decided by Chelsea that they wanted to keep him.
Rudiger (left) has remained involved since former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel (right) took over
‘My thoughts were: “I’ll stay here and fight for my place,”‘ Rudiger added.
‘I certainly thought about it when I wasn’t in the squad. But everybody knows: we are in a pandemic, not all clubs are so liquid at the moment.
‘I wanted to stay here, even though I had offers.
‘Shortly after Christmas, I was regularly called up again. For the winter transfer period, there was no question of a move. I wanted to fight my way through.’