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Rennes boss Stephan responds after Chelsea’s Zouma and Camavinga caught talking tactics after Champions League

The France international team-mates were overheard discussing strategies following the European clash, and the Ligue 1 club’s manager is not happy

Rennes manager Julian Stephan says he disagrees with the tactical advice Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma gave Eduardo Camavinga following their Champions League clash this week.

Chelsea won 2-1 away to the Ligue 1 side to qualify for the last 16 of the competition and consign Rennes to Europa League football at best after Christmas, and after the game France international team-mates Zouma and Camavinga were caught on camera discussing defensive tips.

Centre-back Zouma is heard telling teenage midfielder Camavinga that Rennes should play more long balls out of defence rather than trying to play out of trouble. He cites their defensive woes in a recent meeting with Paris Saint-Germain, which the Ligue 1 champions won 3-0.

Zouma said, as captured by Telefoot: “Sometimes you have to go long when you’re on the defence. That’s what we do sometimes. When there is pressure, you lose the ball and concede a goal. Every time. It happened against PSG.”

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Stephan has now had his say on Zouma’s opinion about his side’s style of play, claiming that Chelsea played just as many long balls as his team and were keen to play out from the back themselves.

The Rennes manager said: “They played almost the same number of long balls in the first half.

“The difference at the very highest level is that they punished us, we did not punish them. The only truth is that at the very highest level you have to seize your opportunities.

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“I don’t think Lampard is asking his defenders to go long. It responds to a context, a circumstance. We also played several long balls. Look at what happened, there was exactly the same situation on both sides, exactly the same.”

The result left Chelsea on 10 points in Group E of the Champions League, sealing their place in the round of 16 as either winners or runners-up alongside Sevilla.

Rennes meanwhile know their maiden Champions League campaign will end next month, and are now battling with fellow eliminated debutants Krasnodar for third place in the group and a spot in the Europa League round of 32.

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Chelsea had taken the lead in France through Callum Hudson-Odoi, and although Serhou Guirassy appeared to have snatched a late point for Rennes, Oliver Giroud headed in a stoppage-time winner for the Premier League side.

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