Thomas Tuchel urges fans to ‘show respect’ after Antonio Rudiger hit by lighter

The German defender was struck by the object thrown from the away supporters during the 2-0 home win over Tottenham

Nick Purewal
Sunday 23 January 2022 20:25
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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has urged fans to curb their risky behaviour to protect English football’s “unique atmosphere” after Antonio Rudiger was struck by a lighter thrown from the away supporters during Sunday’s win over Tottenham.

Rudiger was hit during the Blues’ 2-0 Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge, earned thanks to second-half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva.

Ziyech’s wonder strike and Silva’s header handed Chelsea their third win over Spurs in the month, after victories in both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Chelsea boss Tuchel released a message this week after the Blues beefed up security and rules after several recent pitch invasions.

And, after Rudiger was hit by an object thrown from the crowd, the Blues’ German boss admitted English football needed to safeguard its interaction between players, coaches and fans.

Asked if recent events had him concerned, Tuchel replied: “I’m not worried, but you are right. I sent the message to our fans – support us, we love to (have) them close to the pitch, we love a brilliant atmosphere (and) that they are not behind fences or nets.

“From there everybody needs to show respect. But in general I’m not concerned. Right now I enjoy the atmosphere.

If this is a new trend we need to act together to make sure that it stops as soon as possible, to protect the fantastic environment and unique atmosphere of England

Thomas Tuchel

“If this is a new trend we need to act together to make sure that it stops as soon as possible, to protect the fantastic environment and unique atmosphere of England.”

On Rudiger being struck, Tuchel added: “I just heard it some minutes ago, I was actually not aware of all this during the match.

“I think it was during a corner or around the corner, but I have zero information on that.”

Ziyech rated his long-range curler that nestled right in the top corner as “10 out of 10” before Tuchel hailed one of the Morocco winger’s best moments in a Chelsea shirt.

“It was a very nice goal actually, the build-up was good, the movement was brilliant,” said Tuchel.

“And I’m very happy because he deserves it. It was a very important goal. So, well done.

“This was absolutely one of his best matches today, he was very reliable.”

Chelsea’s first league win since Boxing Day handed a major boost to the Blues, who had suffered five frustrating draws since December, allied to the 1-0 loss at Manchester City.

Harry Kane protests after having a goal disallowed (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP).

Harry Kane saw a goal chalked off after 40 minutes for a push on Silva, leaving Tottenham boss Antonio Conte fuming on another dispiriting return to former club Chelsea.

“In the first half the referee disallowed a goal and I was very clear with him, because I think that it’s best sometimes to tell the referee in a polite way,” said Conte.

“To see this type of goal disallowed in England, it was incredible.

“Maybe in Italy, 50-50, but in England it was incredible.

“The yellow cared for (Japhet) Tanganga also angered me a lot.

“It can seem a stupid thing, but no, because a yellow card from the start to the end can also force an early substitution.

“But the referee can make a good or bad decision, it’s normal, like me or a player, but it’s okay.”

Giovani Lo Celso was omitted from the Tottenham squad despite being fit and available, but Conte refused to comment on his future at the club.

Conte added: “I selected the players for this game and then, for this question there is the club.”

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