Tuchel Discusses ‘serious’ Rudiger-Kepa Chelsea Training Bust-up

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed earlier reports of a training ground bust-up between central defender Antonio Rudiger and back-up goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. In doing his prematch media duties, ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg at FC Porto, Tuchel opened up somewhat on what happened.

Of course, he also held a lot of details back, but he did say the incident was “serious.” Tuchel said neither player will face any punishment for the altercation.

Chelsea at FC Porto UCL Quarterfinal Leg 1/2 FYIs

Kickoff: Wed April 7, 8pm, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan

Chelsea Starting XI Prediction: go here

Team News for Both Sides: go here

Odds: Chelsea win -140    Draw +250    FC Porto Win +430

Head to Head:  Chelsea win 5    Draw 2    FC Porto Win 1

Fast Fact: Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 matches (Champions League)

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“Don’t get me wrong, it was serious,” Tuchel said.

“Sometimes you have little, little, little situations where you maybe look away, let them sort things out alone. This was not the case.

“We needed to interfere in the situation so the situation was serious but how the guys themselves handled the situation was also impressive and showed a lot of character. There are things we don’t want to accept and are normally unusual but they can happen in little games, in little groups. They are all competitors and want to win training matches.

“Things got too heated up and the reaction was not OK. But the reaction to it, how the guys handled the situation, especially Toni and Kepa was amazing and showed how much respect they had for each other because they sorted it out directly. They cleared the air immediately.

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“This was the most important so there was nothing left one day after. We spoke about the issue, then it was solved.”

From what Tuchel said there, it sounds like the two men were able to resolve their differences on their own, without any need for the coaching staff to intercede and mediate the incident.

Tuchel was asked if either player will be punished, and he responded:

“No punishment so far because of the way they dealt with it. The reaction as an immediate reaction. They made it for everybody clear what happened.

“Toni sorted it out directly which was also absolutely necessary. It was a strong and brave thing to do. It was the only right thing to do, to clear the air immediately We continued and made our point clear, from the club and from me, that we are happy with the way they dealt with it but these are things that we don’t like to accept but for this situation there is no further punishment.”

antonio rudiger

The manager also took time in his press conference to vent his frustration about the team leaking news to the press.

“That it gets out, I get used to it. There are too many ways where information can get out,” the German continued.

“I heard that even some of my debrief from the match got out. OK, it is not nice. The information I give you now on the incident is not the full details because I believe the details need to stay in Cobham and the dressing room.

“If we do meetings, we absolutely talk confidential and it has to stay in the meeting room. Nowadays, things can go out. Which is not how we wanted but it is not such a big deal that I start now digging for who is the leak. You can get totally lost in that and lose my focus. I am not much out there on social media. I know what we talk about here, I don’t want to lose my trust in the group so I accept it.”

It will certainly be interesting to see whether or not Rudiger gets a first team assignment tomorrow night, and how he performs if/when he features. Kepa is almost certain to not feature. If this training ground row is truly behind them, then they will not be distracted by it, and that will show in the team’s morale and performance.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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