Thomas Tuchel confirms Antonio Rudiger will start against Porto despite training ground bust-up

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Antonio Rudiger will start the first leg of Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final tie against Porto, despite admitting his Easter Sunday bust-up with Kepa Arrizabalaga was “serious”.

As exclusively first reported by Telegraph Sport, Rudiger was dismissed early from training after a row with Kepa escalated into a pushing match between the pair who were pulled apart by their Chelsea team-mates.

Rudiger apologised to Kepa straight after training and that has spared both players any further punishment from Chelsea head coach Tuchel, who will bring the German back into his team against Porto on Wednesday night.

“Don’t get me wrong, it (the incident) was serious,” said Tuchel. “It was nothing we can just…sometimes you have little, little, little situations where you maybe look away and let them sort things out alone. 

“This was not the case, we needed to interfere, we needed to interfere in the situation so the situation was serious. But how the guys themselves handled the situation was also impressive and also showed a lot of character. But the situation was serious.

“It was an incident in training. it got heated up between Toni and Kepa. We calmed the situation down immediately. These are things we don’t want to accept, they are normally unusual but they can happen. 

“They solved it straight after training in a very honest, in a very honest, humble, direct way and that showed me they have good character. No punishment so far because of the way they dealt with it.”

Asked if Rudiger, who was on the substitutes’ bench for the 5-2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion, will now return to his team to face Porto, Tuchel replied: “Yes.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Newcastle’s Steve Bruce have both conducted internal investigations over leaked stories from their training grounds and dressing-rooms, but Tuchel does not plan to try to find out how news of the clash between Rudiger and Kepa became public.

“(Am I worried) that it gets out? I’m used to it in modern times,” said Tuchel. “There are too many channels, there are too many ways where information can get out. 

“I heard even that some of my debrief from the match got out and was out there, what I told the team after the (West Brom) game and stuff like that. OK, it’s not nice. 

“The details I give you now on the incident are, of course, not all the details because I strongly believe the details need to stay in the club, in Cobham, and training ground, in the dressing room. Of course, if we do meetings we absolutely, 100 per cent are confidential and for me that has to stay in the meeting room. 

“Nowadays, things can go out which is not like how we wanted but it’s not such a big deal that I start now digging for who is the leak and who did this. You can get totally lost in that and I don’t want to lose my focus. 

“I’m not much out there in social media, not at all, I’m not much in the media. I know we talk here and I don’t want to lose my trust in the group, so I accept it.”

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