Antonio Rudiger has refuted suggestions that he was against Frank Lampard remaining as manager of Chelsea.
The German defender made only 35 appearances for Chelsea during the 84 games when Lampard was manager of the London side, having played regularly before the club legend’s arrival.
Rudiger was regularly left out of Chelsea’ first-team squad before Christmas but had fought his way back into contention shortly before Lampard was sacked in late January.
— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) February 15, 2021
The 27-year-old was speaking to German publication SportBild and denied allegations that he was one of the players who were partly responsible for Lampard’s sacking.
“If I was so anti-Lampard, why would I have been on the pitch under him in his last games? 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.”
‘I wanted to stay, even though I had offers’
PSG, who were managed by current Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel at the time, were interested in signing Rudiger in the summer but the German international decided to stay in London despite his lack of game time.
“My thoughts were: ‘I’ll stay here and fight for my place.’ 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,” Rudiger explained.
Rudiger has started in all of Chelsea’s Premier League fixtures since Tuchel took over, in an unbeaten run of five league matches which has seen them rise to fourth place in the table.