Antonio Rüdiger

Getty Images

Lampard hits out at Mourinho over Rudiger criticism

Leave a comment

Frank Lampard has hit out at Jose Mourinho’s comments that Antonio Rudiger is “will have broken ribs for sure” after Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son was sent off for kicking the Chelsea defender.

The controversial incident in a fiery battle between Chelsea and Spurs has since seen both Son and Rudiger subjected to racist abuse, and Lampard doesn’t believe his former boss at Chelsea was right to criticize Rudiger.

“With Toni, in this incident when he’s having to post after the game about something we know is a huge deal [racism], I think to question his integrity in that time is disappointing for sure,” Lampard said. “Pretty universally, certainly what I heard in the commentary and the post-match reflection was that the Son incident was a red card. It wasn’t brutal but it was instinctive that warrants a red card in the modern day. It was pretty clear that was the case. I wouldn’t question Toni’s integrity on that. So I do defend Toni firmly on it.”

Rudiger probably overreacted slightly from the challenge, but Son still lashed out and his red card, even though Spurs appealed against it, was warranted.

Lampard then appeared to have a dig at Mourinho about the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah being sold while he was manager at Chelsea and youngsters not being given a chance.

“If we are not patient and [don’t] stick with the players we might be in a situation [like] before where absolutely top world-class players at this minute have been at Chelsea when they were 20 or 21 and managers maybe did not stick with them so much then,” Lampard said. “I am in a position where I will stick with them.”

Grab your popcorn. A Lampard-Mourinho manager feud is the one we didn’t know we needed.

Tottenham issue statement on alleged racist abuse

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham are investigating the alleged racist abuse aimed at Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger during the Blues’ 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

According to Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Rudiger expressed to him that racist chants were being aimed at him during the second half of Sunday’s match, shortly after his incident with Son Heung-min.

“It is made very clear to us all that if we have heard any racist incident to report it. Tony came to me and told me he was listening to racist songs towards him so I reported it to the referee,” Azpilicueta said. “We are very concerned and aware of this behavior. Altogether we need to make it stop. I hope everything gets clear and we eradicate it as soon as possible. It‘s an issue not just in football but in life.”

The alleged incident caused the match to be paused momentarily by referee Anthony Taylor, in accordance to official protocol issued by FIFA.

Following the match, Spurs confirmed through a statement that they have launched an investigation and are ready to “take the strongest possible action” against anyone found guilty of the alleged racist abuse.

The club’s statement reads: “We are now conducting a thorough investigation which will include liaising with Chelsea and their players for their observations. Any form of racism is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our stadium. We take any such allegations extremely seriously and shall take the strongest possible action against any individual found to be behaving in such a way, including stadium bans.”

Mourinho on Son’s red card: Rudiger ‘will have broken ribs for sure’

Getty Images
2 Comments

In his classical sarcastic tone, Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho directly indicated that Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger made the most of his collision with Son Heung-min on Sunday, which was marred by the alleged racist abuse of Rudiger.

Both players tangled up as they went after the ball during the second half of the match, with Son falling to the floor. Visibly upset with the initial call, Son irresponsibly grazed his studs across Rudiger’s midsection, sending the defender to the floor.

After a lengthy VAR review, referee Anthony Taylor handed the Korean his third red card of the season, a decisive blow to Tottenham’s chances of overturning a two-goal deficit.

Speaking to our UK partners, Sky Sports, Mourinho took a subtle, ironic jab at Chelsea’s defender.

“I hope Rudiger will recover from broken ribs because he will have broken ribs for sure,” the manager quipped to Sky Sports. “If he does nothing and the referee immediately gives a yellow card to Rudiger then he won’t have a reaction.

“But if he doesn’t then you can have this sort of emotional reaction. which the referee and VAR has to analyse. For me football is football, the Premier League will be English football and for me that red card is a strange one.

“But I don’t want to focus on that because my team lost and I have to be complimentary to my opponents because they had the better handle on the game.”

Following their 2-0 victory, Chelsea remain fourth on the table with 32, four clear of Sheffield United. Spurs, on the other hand, sit seventh with 26 points.

Since taking over, Mourinho has guided Spurs to four, Premier League wins and two defeats in six bouts.

Rudiger injured, as Chelsea prepare for UCL return

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a season away, Chelsea return to UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday as they host Valencia at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard spoke of his pride ahead of his first UCL game as a manager, and the Blues will be in a confident mood after thrashing Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 at Molineux on Saturday.

Speaking in a press conference ahead of their group stage opener, Lampard confirmed that Antonio Rudiger is out injured again after aggravating a reoccurring groin injury on his return to action at the weekend.

“Toni is injured. He’s bothered a small groin problem that he’s been carrying for a few weeks and will have a scan later today,” Lampard said.

Whether or not Rudiger’s injury forces Lampard to ditch the 3-4-3 formation which served his side so well at the weekend remains to be seen. Kurt Zouma, who has struggled so far this season, could slot right in for Rudiger.
Whoever he picks, it is clear he will continue to put his faith in the young trio of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount who all scored at Wolves.

Abraham has seven goals in his last three games, including a hat trick at Wolves, and having three players under the age of 21 who came through Chelsea’s academy playing pivotal roles has given everyone at the west London club a warm feeling.

“I just believed in him and trusted him,” Lampard said about Abraham. “I know a lot was made of the ban giving opportunities for young players but I felt now was his time. He is in a good place and can improve even more.”

It will be intriguing to see how this young Chelsea side cope with the demands of European and Premier League action.

Tomori, Abraham and Mount were emotional at the final whistle on Saturday as their journey through the academy and eventually into the first team is complete.

But this is only the start. Lampard is correct to acknowledge Chelsea’s transfer ban from FIFA forcing their hand in playing youngsters this season, but he was also correct in saying that Abraham was ready for his chance.

Chelsea’s youngsters now have to deliver week in, week out to justify the rising optimism at Stamford Bridge.

In years to come we may be talking about “The Class of 2016” reshaping Chelsea’s future. That is still some way off, but there have been enough promising signs so far for Chelsea to be excited about these young prospects, especially when Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi return from injury.

Chelsea defender Rudiger to undergo exploratory knee surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Maurizio Sarri may be rueing a risk he took with Chelsea battling for a Champions League place.

Antonio Rudiger is reportedly in Rome to undergo exploratory surgery to discover the extent of a knee injury he suffered over the weekend against Manchester United, and there are concerns his season is almost certainly over. The fear is meniscus damage, which could see him sidelined for around eight weeks.

Rudiger had been out with a knee injury after coming off 40 minutes into the 2-0 loss to Liverpool in early April. The German international was subsequently sidelined for the Europa League matchup against Slavia Prague plus the ensuing Premier League match against Burnley, but Sarri decided he needed Rudiger for the run-in to the Premier League season with Champions League play on the line, bringing him back for the game at Old Trafford.

The defender made it through 65 minutes before collapsing in real pain, and now goes under the knife with just three weeks remaining on the campaign. It would be tough to see Rudiger return unless the results came back overwhelmingly positive, at the very least missing this week’s Europa League semifinal against Eintracht Frankfurt plus the weekend’s league meeting with Watford.

That leaves Andreas Christensen as the partner to David Luiz at the back, with Sarri potentially forced to bring Gary Cahill back into the fold on the bench. Cahill has been a complete afterthought all season, playing just 23 Premier League minutes back in late September. The other option is 18-year-old academy product Ethan Ampadu who joined from Exeter City’s youth setup two years ago.