At Chelsea this season, Antonio Conte has proven one thing: do not get into his hairs and think you can go free.
Two players have endured a torrid relationship with him in the last 12 months, and it looks like Antonio Rudiger may have injected himself into that group.
The Germany international was sidelined by the Chelsea tactician last weekend when they beat Southampton at the St. Mary’s stadium on Saturday for unknown reasons.
But right after the game, the Daily Mail reported Rudiger was dropped because he questioned Conte’s tactics publicly when they drew with West Ham United a few weeks ago.
The central defender was left out of the match day squad when he had not reported any injuries of fatigue.
Conte was sending a message to all his players like his did with Diego Costa last summer and David Luiz in November 2017, that no one was bigger than him in his team and would not tolerate any public criticism from his subordinates.
Rudiger has become a regular under Conte this season and his performances have been decent, but he may suffer a strained relationship with his head coach if he does not back away from making comments like this in future.
I think in the second half we (could) finish the game (off). But like the last few months, we didn’t and we (conceded). For me, it’s not easy to explain. I don’t understand why after 1-0 we always drop and let the opponent get more ball possession.
Pat Nevin names one Chelsea FC star who has played better than last season
Pat Nevin believes N’Golo Kante has been just as good in the current campaign as last season but his performances haven’t stood out due to Chelsea FC’s form.
The France international has won the Premier League title in the past two seasons but Kante looks set to miss out on the top-flight crown this term.
The defensive midfielder proved a key player in Leicester City’s title-winning season under Italian head coach Claudio Ranieri.
Chelsea FC signed Kante in a £30m deal from Leicester in the 2016 summer transfer window to bolster Antonio Conte’s options in the middle of the park.
The Frenchman won the PFA player of the year after the holding midfielder helped the west London side to get their hands on the Premier League trophy.
However, Chelsea FC have been unable to defend their crown following a disappointing second season under Conte.
But former Chelsea FC winger Nevin has been impressed with Kante’s performances this season despite the Blues’ struggles.
“Kante has been as good this season as he was last season,” Nevin told Irish radio station Newstalk.
“He just isn’t playing in as good a team. It just isn’t showing.”
Chelsea FC won the Premier League title with two games to spare last term after finishing seven points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.
The Blues brought in three new players in the January transfer window after recruiting Olivier Giroud, Emerson Palmieri and Ross Barkley.