Rudiger Key To Chelsea's Champions League Defence - William Gallas
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Rudiger Key To Chelsea's Champions League Defence - William Gallas

Chelsea return to European action this evening, as they face Juventus in Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stage. Thomas Tuchel's men began the defence of their continental crown with a steady – if unconvincing – 1-0 victory over Zenit Saint Petersburg, where Romelu Lukaku was once again on the scoresheet. The Belgian frontman completed a return to Stamford Bridge for a fee of just under £100million this summer, and former Blues defender William Gallas believes he can help Chelsea win a second successive Champions League title.



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Tuchel The Right Man For The Job

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “With Lukaku, of course they can [win the Champions League].

“I think the players are ready to try to win it one more time, and that will be magnificent for Chelsea.  

“That’s why I think Tuchel is the right manager, because of his personality, he is a perfectionist.”

The 84-cap French international reached the semi-final stage of Europe’s elite competition twice while at Stamford Bridge – a feat he expects the club to surpass once again under their German coach.

“In every training session, in every game, if he has to shout at his players, he will shout at his players,” Gallas said.

“That’s what I’ve seen from him since the beginning, the first two games he was in charge, he was already shouting at his players. 

“I’m sure he’s the right guy for Chelsea to have the opportunity to win it again.”

Super Rudiger Key To Chelsea's Success

A big part of the Blues' current success has been down to centre-back Antonio Rudiger.

The German international found starts hard to come by under former manager Frank Lampard but he has flourished since fellow countryman Tuchel arrived in SW6.

“He has to thank Tuchel, since he has been managing Chelsea we’ve seen a new

Rudiger,” explained Gallas.

“When you play with a player like him, you know you can go to war.

“He is very important for Chelsea, with his performances they won the Champions League. 

“You know that this guy is going to give everything for the shirt he’s wearing, he’s unbelievable, he’s a warrior.”

Rudiger’s limited minutes under Lampard is something Gallas can relate to, based on his own experience at Chelsea.

When Jose Mourinho replaced Claudio Ranieri as manager, he brought Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho with him.

The two-time Premier League winner found it tough to start with but, like Rudiger, never gave up hope of returning to the starting line-up.

“It was not easy for me at the beginning but because I had such a strong personality and a strong character, I showed Jose that I can play in the starting XI,” he said. 

“I was fighting during every training session and playing under pressure because I knew if I made one mistake then I’d be on the bench for the next game. 

“That’s why I don’t really agree with the players who give up when the manager puts them under pressure.”

Rudiger's Future Unresolved

Despite a remarkable resurgence over the last 12 months, Rudiger’s Chelsea contract situation is still yet to be resolved.

The German could depart Chelsea at the end of this current season and Gallas – who infamously swapped West London for North London when he joined Arsenal in 2006 – does see it being sorted out, one way or another. 

He said: “The question is does he want to stay? 

“Footballers' careers are very short and maybe Antonio has a dream to play in another league with another club, you have to respect that. 

“In my opinion, he deserves a contract extension.  

“I’m sure they are going to speak and to try to find the best solution for the both 

of them.”

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