Football

Chelsea boss Tuchel pleased as Ruediger, Kepa make up after bust-up

Chelsea boss says duo showed character by making up quickly after bust-up

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised defender Antonio Ruediger and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga yesterday for burying the hatchet quickly after the pair were involved in a training ground bust-up on Sunday.

Ruediger, 28, was sent to the changing rooms after he clashed with Arrizabalaga, 26, following a late challenge. They had to be separated by teammates.

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PORTO CHELSEA

Tuchel, who said that the incident was serious but both of them would not be punished, added that it had nothing to do with last Saturday's 5-2 home thrashing by West Bromwich Albion.

"It was nothing to do with the defeat, it was just an incident in training. It got heated up between Toni and Kepa. So we calmed the situation down immediately," said Tuchel.

"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, with Ruediger apologising to Arrizabalaga.

"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."

Chelsea's 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions under Tuchel came to an end with the 5-2 defeat by WBA, but the German insisted there was no panic heading into the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Porto in Seville tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"We got a big slap in the face and it was required to remind us how tough it is to keep winning," he added.

"I have the feeling we can overcome Porto, but it will be tough. They are very experienced, but we are strong enough and believe in ourselves."

Tuchel confirmed winger Christian Pulisic is in the squad after suffering a hamstring scare against WBA, while midfielder N'Golo Kante is only fit enough to make the bench.

Porto's leading scorers Mehdi Taremi and Sergio Oliveira are both suspended for the first leg after their bookings in their last-16 win over Juventus.

Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said he might make a slight tweak, but there won't be significant changes.

"We are not going to change the way we look at the game just because two players who have been playing regularly are missing," he said.

Porto have won three straight games in the Primeira Liga since a 3-2 extra-time defeat by Juventus in last month's last 16, second leg which resulted in a 4-4 aggregate tie, with Porto prevailing on away goals. - AFP, REUTERS

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