Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has harsh words for fans
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said fans should show players respect from the stands after defender Antonio Rudiger was hit by objects thrown by Tottenham Hotspur supporters at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Rudiger, 28, was struck during the second half of Chelsea’s 2-0 victory as goals from Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva gave them their first league win since December 26.
The incident came a day after Aston Villa pair Lucas Digne, who joined from Everton two weeks ago, and Matty Cash were hit by objects thrown by home supporters at Goodison Park. Merseyside Police have charged a 19-year-old with assault and throwing an item on the pitch during Everton’s 1-0 defeat.
“...Everybody needs to show respect and behave to certain guidelines, there’s no doubt about it,” said Tuchel.
“If this is a new trend we need to act together to make sure that it stops as soon as possible, to protect the fantastic environment and unique atmosphere of England.”
Sky Sports reported Metropolitan Police had made two arrests and were working to identify anyone else involved in throwing objects during the match. Tuchel turned injury and Covid-19 problems into an opportunity when he reshaped his side and was rewarded by two outstanding performances by Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Tuchel said he had opted to push the two wingers into wider, more attacked-minded positions than usual in response to absences in his backline, with Andreas Christensen out with Covid and Trevoh Chalobah only able to make it to the bench after an injury.
Wingbacks Ben Chilwell and Reece James are also out with long-term injuries.
Tuchel, asked about Ziyech’s fine performance which was capped by an outstanding goal in the 47th minute, said the unusual shape he deployed against Spurs gave the Moroccan the opportunity to take risks.
“It was one of his best matches because he was very reliable,” Tuchel told reporters. “It’s perhaps also his best position, wide on the wing.”
Hudson-Odoi also revelled in the space up front against Spurs, free of the usual defensive requirements of him under Tuchel’s more familiar team structure. It was his surging dribble that created the chance for Ziyech’s curling strike.
But Tuchel still has to find a way to get the best out of Chelsea’s record signing Romelu Lukaku who missed two good opportunities to put Chelsea ahead in the first half and was denied by Spurs goalkeeper Huge Lloris after the break.
The Belgium centre-forward has scored only five goals in the league so far this season, and only two since September, although he had two spells on the sidelines with an injury and Covid.
Juergen Klopp dismissed suggestions that Liverpool are back in contention for the title after they escaped with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace following a chaotic second half and a penalty decision that left Palace fuming.
With Manchester City held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Saturday, Klopp’s side closed the gap at the top of the table to nine points, but the German coach saw little reason to celebrate.
“No,” he told BBC when asked if his side were back in the title race. “The distance is too far to talk about it but we don’t have to. We just need to win football matches. Each Premier League game is difficult like we saw today (Sunday).”