Toni Rudiger (right) with Romelu Lukaku. PA
Singing the Blues

Chelsea boss Tuchel: Rudiger and others leaving want to sign off in style

The German is understood to have agreed full terms with Real Madrid.

THOMAS TUCHEL HAS insisted Toni Rudiger and Chelsea’s other departing stars will be desperate to sign off from Stamford Bridge in style.

Rudiger is understood to have agreed full terms with Real Madrid, with Los Blancos poised to announce his free-transfer Bernabeu Stadium switch once the season is complete.

The 29-year-old will bring down the curtain on five years at Chelsea in the next two weeks, with the Blues still chasing a third-place Premier League finish and contesting the FA Cup final with Liverpool.

Andreas Christensen is understood to be headed to Barcelona on a free too, with the Blues losing two experienced centre-backs this summer.

Tuchel admitted the departing players failed to appreciate the effect their impending exits would have on the Stamford Bridge squad, but backed Rudiger and Christensen to drive back to top form to complete the campaign.

Asked if the leaving players are determined to finish their west London stints on a high, Tuchel replied: “I’m absolutely convinced that they want that. Maybe they underestimated the impact that decisions to sign for another club have, the impact that it has.

“I have the feeling that they experience it now themselves, but that they don’t want this and they don’t do it intentionally, but this is the case, we feel that it is different, a different approach to the games.

“Maybe these kind of shock experiences are necessary to really wake up and not go out of the season like this.

“Toni (Rudiger) is important. You never finish with development and this is a key moment for his personal career. He knows it and I think he will step up. It is the moment to do it.”

Chelsea make the trip to Leeds on Wednesday bidding to improve a run of just one win in their last five Premier League matches.

The Blues are unable to advance any transfer plans for the summer until the club’s sale to incoming owner Todd Boehly is complete.

US magnate Boehly’s £4.25billion (€4.97b) purchase from Roman Abramovich will be completed well in advance of the 31 May deadline, when Chelsea’s temporary Government operating licence expires.

Abramovich’s UK Government sanctions have left the Blues unable to strike fresh deals for existing players or sign new recruits, but normal service will be restored once Boehly takes ownership.

Asked where the last few months of forced inaction leaves Chelsea’s long-term recruitment plans, Tuchel insisted no Stamford Bridge boss ever has the luxury of taking their eye off the daily pressures in west London.

“You need to be careful with long-term plans at Chelsea; you can end up that it’s not your plan any more,” said Tuchel.

“So a long-term plan is two or three matches – that’s how you maybe live a long-term plan.

“That’s more important than making it. It’s high-level sport, we are judged on a weekly basis.

“We depend on results, on the atmosphere we create and that we live up to it.

“For this you need your energy, your focus. You need to love where you are.

“I can just say for me: everything is here. That’s why I dig in in situations like this and try to come out with my team, my staff and my players.

“There’s no other way. We’re still in a very, very privileged position in the table and things are a bit more uncomfortable.

“Things are for a long time now where you wish sometimes ‘can we not just have a positive message now for everybody’.

“A lift. But OK if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. Just put your head down and go through it.

“It’s like in a football match sometimes that you have to suffer, suffer, suffer.

“The plan is to win games, to take care about the atmosphere and the work ethic, which we have. Then hopefully it lasts for a long time.”

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