Frank Leboeuf questioned Thomas Tuchel’s bold decision to sub Callum Hudson-Odoi out when there are a few other Chelsea players who failed to perform in Southampton draw.
Chelsea salvaged a 1-1 draw and maintained their unbeaten run under Tuchel, but it was the new manager’s mid-game decision that stole all the spotlight.
The German subbed Hudson-Odoi off with 13 minutes remaining for Hakim Ziyech, after bringing him on at half-time.
Tuchel clarified after the game that he was not happy with the England international’s “attitude, energy and counter-pressing” (Hayters TV).
Many disagreed with how Tuchel tried to send the message to his team, including former Blues centre-back Leboeuf who described the substitution as a “complete humiliation” for Hudson-Odoi.
“I want to know why and how he doesn’t take [Timo] Werner off,” Leboeuf told ESPN FC.
“Werner was really average in the first half, completely disappeared in the second half, but he stayed 90 minutes on the field — I don’t get it.
“Some other players [such as Mateo] Kovacic was awful in the second half.
“I’ve never seen Kovacic losing so many balls. He went out, but [wasn’t humiliated like Hudson-Odoi].
“You can’t do that, bringing somebody in and take him off 20 minutes after. That’s horrible for a 20-year-old.”
At this point, we can only hope that Hudson-Odoi reacted positively and does not lose his confidence after that.
Tuchel could have easily avoided the commotion if he had moved Hudson-Odoi to the right wing-back position and just subbed off Reece James instead.
Fortunately, Tuchel also said that Hudson-Odoi might start against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, and that will be one way to perhaps undo the damage.