Antonio Rudiger Told Chelsea They Cannot Hide Behind Their Covid-19 Crisis After Losing Further Ground On Manchester City In The Title Race

A goalless draw at Wolves left Thomas Tuchel’s side six points adrift of the Premier League leaders in third.

Chelsea had tried to have the game postponed after six players tested positive for Covid, with Jorginho potentially making it seven. But Rudiger refused to use the absentees as an excuse.

“In our situation, a point feels like a loss,” said the Germany international. “It doesn’t matter the circumstances – it doesn’t feel good.

“Of course it is not easy. Definitely not. But we still had a competitive team out there to do something and we should have provided more chances to score, which we failed to do.

“The second half we had a good uplift, we showed character, but still at the end of the day we cannot be happy with this point because looking at the table.”

The Premier League rejected Chelsea’s application to have the game postponed after Kai Havertz and Ruben Loftus-Cheek joined Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell as confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Jorginho returned positive and negative tests so was left out of the squad for the trip to Molineux.

It is not clear if Chelsea’s games against Brentford in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday or Aston Villa on Boxing Day will go ahead, with both of those teams having recent matches postponed due to their own Covid outbreaks.

Tuchel, who was adamant yesterday’s game should not have been played, insists Chelsea will pay the price for being forced to fulfil the fixture.

He said: “I understand the decision. They say, ‘Look, they have 14 players,’ but if you look a bit more in detail you see Trevoh Chalobah with two training sessions, Mateo Kovacic, one training session, you see N’Golo Kante has one training session.

“We put a huge health and safety risk physically and not only from Covid. This was the decision and of course, that’s it.

“I’m not sure if I will catch it and hopefully I will not catch it. Will I will do sports the very next day if I have to isolate for 10 days?

“We put Kova into a Premier League match the second day after a Covid infection. So if you count this as 14 valuable players to play in the Premier League – the toughest league in the world – on the level that it needs, okay it is like this.

“We can survive a game, but we will pay the price. At some point we will pay the price for sure.”

Tuchel admitted he does not know if Chelsea’s upcoming games will go ahead, adding: “My opinion is not important. We need to wait and see.

“I guess we will be tested and tested and tested. Hopefully it stops having positive results because it’s what we all want, no matter if we play football or not.

“I hope it does (stop) because we are still together in the dressing rooms and on the bus on our way back. Fingers crossed that everything goes well.”

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