BY PAUL LAGAN
Antonio Rudiger and his team-mates suffered the wrath of Maurizio Sarri following Chelsea’s midweek defeat to Wolves and produced the result of the season, beating Manchester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The German centre-back was imperious in defence and a lot happier than he was a few days previously.
“Yes, the result against Wolves was disappointing and this was a lot better,” he said. Pressure was mounting on head coach Sarri and Rudiger admitted the loss to Wolves had an affect on him.
“He was very calm in the build-up to Manchester City,” said Rudiger.
“Of course after the Wolves game he was terrifying. He was going crazy [in the dressing room].
“But that was okay because we shouldn’t have lost the match. But the day after he was clear-minded. He spoke with us and made it clear to us that we have to believe in ourselves.
“The mentality was the problem. One of the things that made us strong in difficult moments last season was that we knew how to suffer. This season because things were going so well, we were thinking ‘we don’t need to suffer’. Two teams, Tottenham and Wolves, proved us wrong.
“That’s why, against City, everyone saw a team that was ready to fight. By suffering, what I mean is when we are having a tough time, we need to man up, keep our chins up and work our arses off.
“We were playing beautiful football at the start of the season but that doesn’t mean you forget the ugly side of it too, winning tackles, tracking back, doing everything defensively.
“Against Manchester City we were very clinical too, which was also important. That has been missing over the last month.”
Emma Hayes has revealed why star striker Fran Kirby has being missing from the Chelsea Women’s line-up for recent matches. Following Sunday’s 4-0 rout of Brighton at Crawley, in the WSL1, Hayes said: “She is fine, she will be back for the new year. “If needed, we could have played her. We are just taking time. We are just trying to improve her strength in and around her hamstring, and to be honest, for us to make sure she is going to be good for club and country. It’s a big year for her next year with the World Cup. We felt we have the squad depth that we could take this time now and we are doing that.”