Antonio Rudiger has dismissed reports he played a role in Frank Lampard’s sacking at Chelsea as ‘nonsense rumours’ and shot down claims that he clashed with Cesar Azpilicueta in training.
The German international has been painted as one of the key figures in the dressing room to have caused problems during Lampard’s tenure and had been criticised for reportedly urging the board to change the manager.
Rudiger’s relationship with Lampard had become strained after he was dropped from the first team at the start of the season and pushed towards the exit door by his boss despite being highly-regarded by the Chelsea hierarchy.
The defender, who had started three of the last four games of Lampard’s reign, has however now addressed the contentious issues surrounding the former midfielder’s departure and praised him for the job he has done at Chelsea.
‘There have been so many nonsense rumours around about me since last week. I’ve never talked with the board about the situation of the coach or on any other topics,’ he told The Athletic.
‘Frank Lampard trusted in my abilities after Christmas in a very difficult situation and I was thankful for this. It was also the main reason why I told my representatives not to look for a possible winter move anymore.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for our team to turn things around for the coach. We always wanted the best for the manager and for the club.
‘He took over the manager position last season when things were very complicated for all of us. But we managed to qualify for the Champions League together with him.
‘He has given so many young players a chance in the first team and they are still doing an amazing job. I’m pretty sure we will see Frank Lampard back again at another club very soon.’
The 27-year-old has recently been branded the ‘alpha-male’ in the Chelsea dressing room and was reported to have fallen out with club captain Azpilicueta, something the Spaniard and Tammy Abraham denied on social media.
There has never been any problem with Azpi. He’s my captain and I’m very thankful that he and also Tammy reacted that quickly after they’d heard the rumours on social media,’ he added.
‘It looked like people from outside wanted to bother our unity in the squad. Hopefully, this negativity will go away again very soon and we can continue performances like in the Burnley game.’
Chelsea have picked up four points from Thomas Tuchel’s opening two games and their 2-0 win over Burnley on Sunday lifted them to within six points of fourth-placed Leicester City.
Chelsea visit London rivals Tottenham on Thursday night knowing that they climb above their hosts in the race for the top-four spots with victory.