Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has dismissed suggestions that he played a role in Frank Lampard’s sacking as the club’s head coach.
Lampard was dismissed in January following a poor run of form, with some reports in the aftermath suggesting that the German defender had encouraged the Chelsea hierarchy to change the manager.
Rudiger had come close to leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer and featured in just one of Chelsea’s opening 15 Premier League games this season, but was brought back into the fold around the turn of the year and started three of Lampard’s final four league games in charge.
“There have been so many nonsense rumours around about me since last week,” Rudiger told The Athletic. “I’ve never talked with the board about the situation of the coach or on any other topics.
“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.”
Despite Rudiger delivering solid performances as Chelsea kept clean sheets in new boss Thomas Tuchel’s first two games in charge, there was further speculation over his relationships with his team-mates.
Reports claimed that Rudiger had fallen out with club captain Cesar Azpilicueta, but both the Spanish defender and striker Tammy Abraham publicly defended their team-mate.
“There has never been any problem with Azpi,” Rudiger said. “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.
“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.”