Thomas Tuchel reveals chat with Callum Hudson-Odoi and urges Chelsea winger to be a more ‘reliable’ squad member
Thomas Tuchel has revealed he and Callum Hudson-Odoi have spoken privately following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Southampton and hopes the youngster can learn to be as ‘reliable’ coming off the bench as he is when he starts.
Hudson-Odoi would have been disappointed to have been named among the substitutes at St Mary’s but was brought on for Tammy Abraham at the halfway stage after Takumi Minamino had put the Saints in front.
However, the 20-year-old England international lasted just 31 minutes before he himself was replaced by Hakim Ziyech.
And while Mason Mount equalised from the penalty spot to ensure the visitors came away from Southampton with a point, Hudson-Odoi’s substitution fast became the major talking point of the game from a Chelsea perspective.
An irate Tuchel criticised Hudson-Odoi’s energy levels and attitude immediately after the final whistle but looking back on Saturday’s Premier League clash, the German admitted he may have been overly ‘harsh’ on the winger.
‘It is not a big thing at all for me,’ Tuchel – who remains unbeaten since taking over the reins from Frank Lampard – told Chelsea’s official website.
‘I have spoken to Callum, and I’ve spoken to the whole group. Sometimes, these things happen in football and it was just my decision.
‘Maybe I was being harsh on him because he was on my side of the pitch and I was up close to him, but I did not feel that he was really into the game.
‘I didn’t think he was totally sharp and that is why I took a hard decision on him. But that decision was in the moment and for that day only.
‘For me, this is absolutely not a big thing and only becomes one if people want to talk about it.
‘Callum has been fantastic for me so far and it’s on him to show me that every game and every day in training.
‘I want him to show me that he is a reliable guy for the team when he comes on from the bench, like he is when he starts.’
The Blues head coach insisted Hudson-Odoi has ‘every chance of starting’ the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
‘He has started a lot of games for me and in this instance, he has taken a hard decision,’ Tuchel added.
‘Now he must swallow it and come into training ready to work ahead of Atletico, a game which he has every chance of starting.’
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