'Sarri learned from Man City defeat' - Rudiger credits Chelsea boss for shift in tactical approach

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The German defender has praised the Italian boss for adapting his style in the wake of a damaging 6-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium in February

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has credited Maurizio Sarri for a change in his tactical approach which has produced three much-improved performances over the last week.

On February 10, the Blues were beaten in sumptuous style by Premier League leaders Man City, with Sarri taking much of the blame for a 6-0 loss which saw them slip out of the top four.

Fast forward two weeks and Chelsea came up against Pep Guardiola's men once more, in a fiercely contested Carabao Cup final which was decided on penalties after 120 goalless minutes of normal and extra time.

Sarri set his team up to stifle their opponents and attack quickly on the break, a formula which he also employed to great effect against Tottenham last Wednesday in a 2-0 home win.

He reverted to his usual set up as Chelsea secured a 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday, but Rudiger believes Sarri has now learned to adapt to the demands of English football.

“I think everyone has adapted to new things — also the coach," Rudiger began - as per the Evening Standard.

"You saw the way we played against Tottenham and Manchester City [in the past week]? It was different to the way we played in the first three months. 

“Everyone needs to adapt. Have we found a good balance of how to play? Definitely. In life, you need to adapt to things.

"This League is different to Italy, you have to adjust a bit.”

Antonio Rudiger Chelsea 2018-19

Sarri's short reign at Stamford Bridge has been a turbulent one so far, but his side seem to have turned a corner, conceding only once in their last four outings across all competitions.

Rudiger went on to state that Sarri knew he had to change the system after Chelsea were mauled at the Etihad, which has ultimately benefitted the team over the last couple of weeks.

“He learned from that game against City," he added. "There we went high, we went to press, we wanted to win the ball and everyone knows what happened.

“We can play both [styles]. But it is always good to find the golden middle. It depends on the coach. He gives the tactics and the players follow.” 

Next up for Chelsea is a round of 16 first leg Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday, before they host Wolves in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues could move into fourth place temporarily with a win against the Wanderers before Manchester United travel to Arsenal later in the day.

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Rudiger insists the Chelsea squad are focused on securing the final Champions League spot, as he continued: "It is good to know we have things in our own hands.

"We started with the win against Tottenham and now we have beaten Fulham. We want to continue like this.

"It’s not important to speak about other clubs. We need to look at own house and get our own things solved.”