Antonio Rudiger has denied ‘nonsense rumours’ about his role in the sacking of Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
Lampard was sacked from his position as Chelsea manager last month following a concerning run of form for the west London side, winning just two of his final eight league fixtures in charge to see the club fall adrift of the Premier League’s top four.
Reports in the media had suggested that Rudiger had played a part in Lampard’s dismissal after becoming a disruptive presence in the dressing room, the centre-back having fallen out-of-favour at Stamford Bridge after being linked with a summer exit.
Lampard’s huge popularity at Chelsea saw the Germany international receive online abuse from several Blues’ supporters over the allegations, and Rudiger has now moved to dismiss the ‘nonsense rumours’ that he played any part in the board’s decision.
“There have been so many nonsense rumours around about me since last week,” he 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 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.”
Rudiger has started both fixtures under new head coach Thomas Tuchel with Chelsea keeping successive shut-outs against Wolves and Burnley, though the defender insists the club’s German contingent don’t have an ‘advantage’ despite the appointment of the former Paris Saint-Germain manager.
“Just to make this clear: I would have stayed at Chelsea no matter the name of the manager,” Rudiger said. “I was not always happy about the results, but I felt that I’m still an important part of the squad.
“After a difficult situation for me around autumn last year my playing time increased a lot. There was no reason to look for a new challenge for me, as I feel comfortable at the club and in London.
“I don’t think we Germans have an advantage right now, just because our coach is German. As the coach has already said, we all have to prove ourselves now and no one can be sure that he has a position in the starting line-up. The first steps with him have been quite good, but there’s still a long way to go.”