London: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel on Tuesday hailed Antonio Rudiger and Kepa Arrizabalaga for showing “courage” to make amends after a training ground bust-up.
The manager confirmed that Germany defender Rudiger and Spain goalkeeper Kepa had clashed — but insisted the matter was finished.
Chelsea were thumped 5-2 by West Brom on Saturday, paying a hefty price for Thiago Silva’s red card and eventually slipping out of the Premier League’s top four.
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The Blues face Porto in Seville in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg, with Tuchel adamant the Cobham training-ground incident was behind them.
“It was nothing to do with the defeat, it was just an incident in training. It got heated up between Toni and Kepa,” said Tuchel. “So we calmed the situation down immediately.
“I don’t want to play it down with anything artificial, these are things we don’t want to accept. It was unusual but they can happen.
“They are all competitors and want to win training matches. We needed to interfere in the situation, so that was serious. But the way the guys handled the situation, that was impressive, and showed a lot of courage.”
Tuchel said the two players “cleared the air immediately” after the incident.
“We spoke about the issue and then it was solved,” he said. “This was the main part. They sorted it out straight after training in a very honest, humble and very direct way.
“That showed me they have very good character. Toni sorted it out directly, and it was a strong and brave thing to do.”
The chastening defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday was Chelsea’s first under Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard in January.