Thomas Tuchel questioned Callum Hudson-Odoi’s attitude after subbing the 20-year-old on and off in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Southampton.
The England international was introduced at the interval against the Saints, with Tammy Abraham replaced after failing to meet his manager’s expectations, but saw his number called 14 minutes from time.
The Blues’ demanding boss says he took big decisions on the tactical front as two products of the Stamford Bridge academy system were unable to offer the right level of commitment.
What has been said?
“I am not concerned about Tammy Abraham, it was not about the injury, it was hard for him to show his quality,” Tuchel told BT Sport when asked about his decision to remove the striker at half-time.
“He could not put his stamp in this game so we changed the formation.”
The German added on the introduction and subsequent removal of a player that has been impressing for him in a right wing-back berth: “We brought in Callum Hudson-Odoi but I was not happy with his attitude, energy and counter-pressing.
“I took him off and we demand 100 per cent, I feel he is not in the right shape to help us.
“It was a hard decision but tomorrow it is forgotten and he has all possibilities to start against Atletico Madrid.
“It is always a big week so it is mixed feelings at the moment, it will not be easier to score against Atletico.”
What happened against Southampton?
Chelsea were breached by an opposition player for the first time under Tuchel as they took in a meeting with the Saints at St Mary’s.
They fell behind to a clever finish from Liverpool loan star Takumi Minamino, with the Japan international racing through a gaping hole in the Blues’ back line to finish in style.
Tuchel’s side controlled possession for much of the afternoon on the south coast and finally forced a breakthrough early in the second half.
Mason Mount was felled by Danny Ings inside the area and dusted himself down to roll home from the penalty spot.
Chelsea survived the odd scare from there, as the frame of their goal was rattled, but they left with a point.
Tuchel remains unbeaten through his first six games as Blues boss as a result of the stalemate at Southampton, with positive progress being made in an ongoing bid to secure a top-four finish.
His attention is, however, about to shift to European matters and the first leg of a Champions League last-16 encounter with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday – with it interesting to see where Abraham and Hudson-Odoi figure in those plans.