Chelsea ace admits: “I am being punished by Antonio Conte”

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger admits he was ‘probably’ dropped for the Southampton game due to angering manager Antonio Conte with his comments.

The Germany international had recently criticised the team’s performance in the 1-1 draw at home to West Ham, and was then left out of the trip to Southampton this weekend.

Rudiger says he was not injured for the clash at the St Mary’s Stadium and has attempted to clarify his comments in an interview with ZDF, translated by the Metro, as he feels Conte may have taken them the wrong way.

It’s been a difficult season for all involved at Chelsea as the club look set to slip out of the top four just a year after winning the Premier League title so convincingly.

Rudiger, however, insists he did not mean to criticise his manager or anyone personally after the side’s recent slump and habit of throwing games away from promising positions.

Asked if he felt his comments cost him his place against Southampton, Rudiger said: ‘Probably. But I didn’t mean it that way. It was a fact, it wasn’t about the tactics. I did not attack anyone personally, I meant us as a team.’

Belgian forward doubtful for World Cup after serious injury

Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi is expected to miss the remainder of the season, and could well be kept out of Belgium’s World Cup plans too.

The Chelsea loanee fell awkwardly during the Ruhr derby with Schalke on Sunday, and Dortmund manager Peter Stoger admitted to not being particularly hopeful for the 24-year-old’s chances at a quick recovery.

Stoger said:

I didn’t think it looked like the kind of injury that he would be back from quickly,

I hope, of course, that I’m mistaken. I can’t yet say anything specific, other than the fact that he’s in pain and will now be examined in more detail. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looks.

Scoring seven goals in ten appearances since arriving in Germany, the front-man was generating an amount of hype around his name in the months preceding the World Cup, but it now seems as though those dreams will have to be put on hold.

Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad can boast a wealth of talent in the attacking third of the pitch, but all signs point towards Batshuayi being a notable absence from the squad.

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