Chelsea Star: “I’ve no idea why Conte didn’t play me against Southampton”

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has expressed his confusion after being left out of the first-team squad against Southampton, despite not appearing be suffering from any form of injury.

As reported by Nizaar Kinsella, Rudiger explained to German TV show ‘Das aktuelle Sportstudio’ that he was fit enough to feature against the Saints.

“I have no idea. I am fully fit.”

The German international has started 21 games in the Premier League this season and has been ever-present in 2018.

Rudiger has been able to hold down a regular place in the squad, with Antonio Conte favouring the former Roma man over Gary Cahill and David Luiz.

The Italian has fallen out of with the latter, while there have also been concerns over the form of Cahill since the turn of the year.

Conte opted to start with a back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Cahill against Southampton but conceded twice away from home.

The Blues have now conceded 10 times over their last six games in the Premier League, something that has been at the heart of their struggles domestically.

SHOULD RUDIGER START REGULARLY FOR CHELSEA?

Chelsea star refusing to give up on Tottenham pursuit

Olivier Giroud has refused to let Chelsea give up on even the slightest chance of Champions League qualification.

The substitute struck twice as Chelsea scored three times in eight minutes for a 3-2 comeback victory at Southampton.

The France striker then channelled that never-say-die spirit again when insisting the Blues cannot admit defeat in their top-four quest, despite still trailing fourth-placed Tottenham by seven points.

“As long as mathematically it is going to be possible, we are going to believe,” said Giroud.

“So we take the games one by one and we have maybe five or six finals to play. Let’s do the job and we will see what the other teams do.”

Relegation-threatened Southampton stunned Chelsea by sweeping into a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Dusan Tadic and Jan Bednarek.

The Blues turned the game on its head thanks to Giroud’s smart brace, however, and another neat finish from Eden Hazard.

Giroud hailed his first two league goals for Chelsea and then paid tribute to the character of Antonio Conte’s men.

“Obviously I was waiting for that,” Giroud told Chelsea’s official website of his first Premier League goals for the Blues.

“I have tried so many times to put it in the back of the net. When you are a striker you need to keep going and keep your confidence high, even if I have been playing a bit less in these recent weeks.

“I always used to say that football is an ever-lasting beginning, so you always need to question yourself and in those moments the most important thing is to show some character.

“I have been through some difficult periods in my career and all the time I try to come back stronger and it has happened again in this game, and I am very pleased for me and for the team.”

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