Antonio Rudiger claimed neither Mason Mount’s absence nor Thomas Tuchel’s 3-5-2 system was the determining factor in Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
Instead of the usual 3-4-3 formation, Tuchel opted to start his main three midfielders; Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, and Mateo Kovacic in a 3-5-2 system against Manchester City.
Tuchel might have hoped that an additional centre-midfielder could help Chelsea gain more control of the game. However, it left a big gap between their midfield and offensive lines instead.
Mount usually plays as a hub in between these two lines, but he was unfortunately not available due to a minor injury.
Rudiger, however, argued that on paper, Chelsea should have had no problem replacing the England international, but the team just failed to perform.
“For us, it’s a team effort, it’s not about the individuals, and we have enough good players to replace anyone,” the Germany international told Chelsea’s official website about Mount’s absence at the weekend.
“No one is irreplaceable, so that’s why I think that doesn’t play any factor.
“Analysing and saying it was about tactics, it’s just not true.
“I think it’s just that we did not perform at our high level that we usually do, and we got punished for this.
“We just had a bad day at the office.”
Regardless of Chelsea’s incredible squad depth, losing a key player like Mount still limited Tuchel’s options tactically.
The 22-year-old often leads Chelsea’s pressing in the final third, and it was pretty apparent that Chelsea struggled to win the ball outside beyond the halfway line against Manchester City.
Rudiger also made a very good point, though, about the team’s not playing at their usual standard.
After the game, Tuchel admitted that three players had to play through fitness problems, and that might have had an impact as well.