At Chelsea this season, Antonio Conte has proven one thing: do not get under his skin and think you can go free. Two players have endured a torrid relationship with him in the last 12 months, and it looks like Antonio Rudiger may have injected himself into that group.
The Germany international was sidelined by the Chelsea tactician last weekend when they beat Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday for unknown reasons. But right after the game, the Daily Mail reported Rudiger was dropped because he questioned Conte’s tactics publicly when they drew with West Ham United a few weeks ago.
The central defender was left out of the match day squad when he had not reported any injuries of fatigue. Conte was sending a message to all his players like his did with Diego Costa last summer and David Luiz in November 2017, that no one was bigger than him in his team and would not tolerate any public criticism from his subordinates.
Rudiger has become a regular under Conte this season and his performances have been decent, but he may suffer a strained relationship with his head coach if he does not back away from making comments like this in future.
I think in the second half we (could) finish the game (off). But like the last few months, we didn’t and we (conceded). For me, it’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more ball possession.
Antonio Rudiger, Daily Mail