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Football Reporting

Champions League

Rudiger, Kepa Chelsea training ground bust-up was ‘serious’

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said a training ground bust-up between defender Antonio Rudiger and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was “serious” but neither player will be punished due to how they resolved the incident.

Just 24 hours after Chelsea were thrashed 5-2 at home by relegation-threatened West Brom, Rudiger was sent in from training early on Sunday following a late challenge by the Germany international on Kepa in a small-sided game, sparking a row from which they had to be separated by teammates.

Sources have confirmed to ESPN that Rudiger apologised of his own accord once the session finished a few minutes later and this reaction appears to have ensured he will escape any sanction. He is in line to start Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal, first leg against Porto, to be played in Sevilla for COVID-19 reasons.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was serious,” he said. “Sometimes you have little, little, little situations where you maybe look away, let them sort things out alone. This was not the case.

“We needed to interfere in the situation so the situation was serious but how the guys themselves handled the situation was also impressive and showed a lot of character. There are things we don’t want to accept and are normally unusual but they can happen in little games, in little groups. They are all competitors and want to win training matches.

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“Things got too heated up and the reaction was not OK. But the reaction to it, how the guys handled the situation, especially Toni and Kepa was amazing and showed how much respect they had for each other because they sorted it out directly. They cleared the air immediately. This was the most important so there was nothing left one day after. We spoke about the issue, then it was solved.”

Asked directly whether either player would be sanctioned, Tuchel said: “No punishment so far because of the way they dealt with it. The reaction as an immediate reaction. They made it for everybody clear what happened.

“Toni sorted it out directly which was also absolutely necessary. It was a strong and brave thing to do. It was the only right thing to do, to clear the air immediately We continued and made our point clear, from the club and from me, that we are happy with the way they dealt with it but these are things that we don’t like to accept but for this situation there is no further punishment.”

Tuchel also addressed concerns that details from his postmatch debrief against West Brom had also been leaked.

“That it gets out, I get used to it,” he said. “There are too many ways where information can get out. I heard that even some of my debrief from the match got out. OK, it is not nice.

“The information I give you now on the incident is not the full details because I believe the details need to stay in Cobham and the dressing room.

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“If we do meetings, we absolutely talk confidential and it has to stay in the meeting room. Nowadays, things can go out. Which is not how we wanted but it is not such a big deal that I start now digging for who is the leak. You can get totally lost in that and lose my focus. I am not much out there on social media. I know what we talk about here, I don’t want to lose my trust in the group so I accept it.”

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